Now What?!

Tragedy.

Two-year- old precious baby boys that disappear under murky waters.

Horrific pain.

Young men and women gunned down in the prime of life in a city known for happiness.

Unexplainable horror.

A stunningly beautiful and gifted vocalist whose only desire was to sing will never sing again this side of eternity.

Vivid atrocity.

My heart has been on its knees as I attempt to navigate the reasons that life this side of heaven is filled with such unimaginable trauma.

I must admit, however, that I no longer ask, “Why?”

The answer to the question of “Why?” is obvious to me.

We live in a fallen world. Planet earth, in all of its wondrous beauty, is nothing more than a warzone.

Good vs. Evil.

Eternity vs. Time.

Joy vs. Depression.

Life vs. Death.

Satan, the enemy of the people of God, is indeed roaming around seeking someone to devour. He devours minds and destroys lives. He is ravenous for the souls of a generation.

“Your adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – I Peter 5:8

The enemy has one goal for those of us who are currently breathing in oxygen and his goal can be summed up with three despicable verbs … to steal … to kill … and to destroy. That’s it. That’s all he’s got.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy …” – John 10:10a

Satan hates humanity and he especially hates the people of God. His mission is always to destroy people with hate … to kill people with depression … and to steal that precious commodity called “hope”.

I can answer the “Why” question … the question that perplexes me is, “Now what?!”

What do I say to the mom with empty arms? How do I pray for her? Is there anything that I can do? I honestly wonder, “Will she ever smile again? Will she ever be able to celebrate life again? Will she ever be able to look ahead and not heave with debilitating pain?!”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – II Corinthians 1:3 & 4

As I read the ancient and powerful words found in my Bible and inspired by the Holy Spirit, I am reminded that I serve the God of all comfort and so I ask Him to be with her … the mom with the broken heart.

Is there a way that I can convince people whose belief system is different than mine that we really can be friends? Is there something that I can do or say that will persuade them that we can actually love one another in spite of opposing opinions?

I happen to believe that love is strong enough to bridge a gap between right and left … between conservative and liberal … between me and you.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – I Corinthians 13:13

Love is greater.

Love eclipses pain and is more powerful than rhetoric.

Love comforts … it sustains … and it heals.

“Lord, show me how to love people. Teach me, Lord, to love like You would love. I don’t want to merely love philosophically or from a distance. I want to love with a hands-on kind of love. I want to love in word and in deed. I want to get my hands and my heart dirty with a life-changing kind of love.”

You know, my friend, as I process tragedy and pain, I don’t have a political answer. I can’t comment on gun control, on signage at amusement parks or on security systems.

I have no political solutions or culturally savvy answers … but I do know the One Who is the Answer.

And I also know that God is crying.

Jesus wept when Lazarus was in the grave and He now mourns with those who are in human pain in 2016.

God has not turned His back but His hand is stretched out still. His heart of love longs to embrace grieving parents … to bring peace to incredulous accusers … and to cradle horrified siblings.

I no longer ask, “Why?!”

What I do, however, is to fall on my face and cry out to the God of all comfort. I ask Him to do what He does best … to comfort those of us who are still trapped in time. I ask Him to love broken and confused people through the brokenness of me. Rather than ask unanswerable questions, I can go to the cross and lay myself there beside sinners, murderers, accusers, and mourners who are all in need of a Savior.

I also know that although tragedy is part of the human story, it is not the defining factor of human history nor is it the final chapter. We are defined by our ability to overcome and to walk in triumph. The human spirit holds an unmatched power and purpose because we have been stamped with the fingerprint of God.

Do you want to know what else I know? Evil never wins! Evil has been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Evil may sputter … it may rear its ugly head … but Jesus is still on the throne!

I know that prayer changes things … that love conquers all … and that the enemy is no match for the power of Christ.

These things I know and they comfort me this week.

“Jesus, we come to You today as a broken nation.  We ask You to bind up our wounds and to restore hope and promise to the 49 families who lost a loved one in the senseless shooting in Orlando.  We pray for the family of Christina Grimmie and ask that many would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of her short, yet dynamic life.  And Father God, we pray for the family of sweet little Lane Graves. We pray for his parents, Matt and Melissa, and for his big sister. Comfort them, Jesus.”