When Darkness Falls

Don’t forget in the darkness what God promised you in the light. ~Mark Jones

A senseless act, by definition, defies logic and rationale. Whatever the Las Vegas killer’s motivation may have been, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure he saw his actions as justifiable. But what spurned him to do this horrific thing really doesn’t matter to me. The weapons he chose to use, the method he used to execute his plan, none of that matter to me. I simply don’t care.

I don’t care if he was doing it name of Allah or another god. I don’t care if he did what he did because he was a pissed off Republican or a dissatisfied Democrat. I don’t care if he did it because he was upset about statues, the NFL, the President, the left, the right, the middle, or that his girlfriend broke up with him. Whatever he thought was justification enough for him to unload hell on earth upon unsuspecting people doesn’t matter a hill of beans to me.

His actions don’t prove that God doesn’t love us or that the Lord has abandoned us. His actions prove nothing. His actions only hurt and terrorize a nation and a world already on edge. His actions only serve as a reminder that evil does exist. Evil doesn’t need a cause to rear its nasty head. Evil is self-deceiving by nature and all-consuming. It sucks out life and light wherever it finds a home. Evil kills, murders, maims, injures, wounds and destroys. Evil does what it does because it’s evil.

Evil lies. Like there is any reason that anyone could ever give you that would make you say “Oh yeah! I get it now.” There’s not. We’ve been through enough of these types of events to know better. And no, it won’t be the last. Sadly, it probably won’t even be the worst. One day evil will up the ante. It always does.

Let’s not allow this to become another platform for our individual views on weapons,  politics, or whatever. Let’s focus on the people whose lives were extinguished, the hundreds that were wounded, and the thousands that were violated. Let’s celebrate them. Let’s help them. Let’ love them.

We live in a world of differing views and perspectives. We don’t agree. We won’t agree. Democracy is not about agreement. Democracy is about acceptance in light of our disagreements. We’re different. Let’s get over that already. 

Let’s not make this about politics, gun control, or even terrorism. To do that would be giving the gunman’s wicked rationale a leg to stand on. He doesn’t deserve that. At best, he deserves our prayers and forgiveness. But I’m not sure we’re there yet. I know I’m not. I doubt his family is. They need our prayers. Imagine what they must be thinking and going through. Imagine if your loved one did this.

star-clusters-67616_1920What then?

For starters, if you are able, be a doer. Help those affected by the tragic events in Las Vegas by lending a helping hand, a listening ear, or by donating blood, or giving them a hug. Let those who lived through it know that you love them, regardless of who they are, what they believe, or even the music they listen to.

Another action that you can take regardless of where you stand in proximity to the shooting is prayer. Pray with them and for them. Pray early. Pray often. Pray now. This is going to be hard to get over. To date, there’s been no larger act of violence than this in America,  9/11 respectfully aside. Prayer is a powerful weapon. Prayer is more than just an expression of good thoughts and kind words. Thoughts and words are limited. Prayer is not.

Be there. Be present. Be in the moment. Talk. Listen. Lend a shoulder to cry on and arms to wrap around those who need comfort.

Whatever you do, don’t let this become another platform to divide us. That’s what evil wants to do. Kill our joy. Kill our hope. Kill us.  Instead, let your light shine.

Pray. Do. Be.

God is good all the time, all the time God is good.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5 (ESV)

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Praying for Las Vegas. Praying for America.

God Won’t Give You More Than HE Can Handle

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is flat out overwhelming.  Numerous times I have heard people claim that God never gives us more than we can handle. Which sounds nice and is meant to be encouraging, but unfortunately isn’t true. You may just not have lived long enough.

For the Lord, nothing is impossible. Jesus reminds us all we need is faith like a mustard seed to move mountains. In those overwhelming moments, we must let go and hang on to God. He alone can calm the storms. He alone can still the waters. God is able when we are unable. His strength sustains us and pulls us through difficult, challenging times. And you can be sure, believer or not, you’ll face difficulties in this life.

Life is not for the faint of heart.

Honestly, I’m not sure how people get through life without faith. I know it’s only by God’s grace that I survived to see another year.

Foggy Morning Breakdown

While my virtual technology teammates and I were catching up on how things were progressing with my Mom, one of them shared a story about a man who was walking the desert, when he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. He determined one set was his and one set was God’s. The man hit a rough patch, and found himself without food and water. In his moment of greatest need,  the man noticed only one set of footprints in the sand. God had him. 

God carries us through the valleys.

Mom and Flowers

Amid our moments of crisis, the world keeps spinning. Unlike sports, life doesn’t come with TV commercial timeouts. We must depend on God and be willing to lean on others. When we do this, we will be rewarded with the acts of loving-kindness from our family, our friends, and our neighbors. We even experience complete strangers showing us the goodness of God through their actions to help us get through a rough patch. With God, we never have to do anything alone. He’s our ever-present helper, especially in times of trouble.

God is our refuge and our strength.

As my late, great friend Pastor Mark Jones would say “Don’t forget in the Darkness what God revealed to you in the Light.”

And it’s true. We can depend on God. He never gives us more than HE can handle.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)

Faithfully,

RB