It seems like the waves of tragedy and suffering keep rolling in with no end in sight, leaving many hopeless. The recent Orlando shooting makes me think back to an article I read after the San Bernardino shooting last year. The article by Jennings Brown was titled, “After San Bernardino Everyone’s Sick of Your ‘Thoughts and Prayers.'” The title pretty much explains the article. However, if there’s one thing this article reminds me of, it’s that in times like these, we seem to assume God is absent.
While it is definitely a challenging reality to face, GOD IS PRESENT right here and right now. I know for a fact that God is NOT sitting back and doing nothing. ALL of our desperate outcries and prayers ARE heard. Does that mean He responds in the way we think He should or the way we want Him to? Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.“ In our minds and in our culture today (that tries to be accepting of everything and everyone’s opinions) we have so many different ideas of who God is and what He should do, but underneath all of the ideas we have about God lies the truth. His plans are much greater than ours and He is working in ways that we cannot see.
God knows what is best. He hears our prayers. It doesn’t seem like it in the midst of tragedy, loss, division, and suffering, but He does. HE PROMISES to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). This is one of those truths that is easy to remember when things are going “the way they should,” according to us. However, God’s promises don’t have strings attached. They remain no matter what our circumstances are. Through the good and bad, even in the midst of the Orlando shooting. In an article from Christianity Today on the Virginia Tech shooting back in 2007 Mark Galli wrote, “While Jesus does not promise us safety, Jesus does give us his peace. This is not the peace of pleasant feelings, of course, but the peace that comes from knowing we are in God’s purpose and presence no matter what bullets may fly around us.”
My prayer is that the Christian community would find peace and rest in this truth during this time of tragedy. My prayer is that it wouldn’t stop there, but that we would SHARE that truth with those who are suffering. My prayer is that during this time of tragedy and suffering we would seek the Lord above all else and direct our hearts to Him. My prayer is that through this Christians would experience God’s love and see Him working in ways they never have before. Above all else, my prayer is that people who have never experienced the love of God would experience it for the first time in the midst of this tragedy and suffering. My prayer is that Christians and non-Christians alike would realize that this love and unity that we SO desire can only be found in the one who first loved us (1 John 4:19). Apart from Him, there is no love. Romans 11:36 says, “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.” Now more than ever, it is important to know that the love we all yearn for comes FROM HIM, it exists BY HIS POWER, and is intended for HIS GLORY.
It is tough to be reminded of these things in times of tragedy, but God IS loving. God is in control. God is gracious. God is merciful. God is constant. God is ever-present. God is all powerful. And God is with us through all of this. God created us with a PLAN and PURPOSE. So during times like these we need to remember…THE PURPOSE OF THE LORD WILL STAND. He is not absent.