Father, Almighty One, Maker of Heaven and Earth,
The sun rises over California beaches
Shines around the world just as it should;
But it does not rise in Coral Springs
For seventeen victims of Satan’s rage
Seventeen image bearers of God
Seventeen hearts are still and cold
And will have no stories to tell of
Many will point to one thing or the other as the cause
- Autism will be demonized
- Rifles will be scrutinized
- Bullies will be brutalized
- Politicians will be criticized
- Dangers will be dramatized
Was it bullying? Low self-esteem? Seeking notoriety on social media? Early immunization?
Should we have armed guards at every school?
Such questions must wait. The rush to establish correlation and then weakly argue for causation must be delayed–forever if possible. God does not call us to such self-interested use of this violence. Please, Father, keep your people from using these people and their dead bodies and weeping families as a buttress for weak arguments for or against a societal or political issue. This would be an additional act of desecration against these families and all of us who grieve for them. Keep your church from noisy sacrilege on social media. Leave that to the worldlings.
So what should we do?
Nothing is not the answer. Nothing is what those paralyzed in fear do. Nothing is what the impotent do.
Overreacting in one direction or the other will only divide us.
I ask you to grant us the following:
Father we ask you to unite your church, in heart and prayer, through these incidents. It could have been any of us. In one sense, it was us, our people, our state, our school, our human family. Unite us in grief and open churches in Coral Springs so that 24/7, they might embrace the grieving and the hopeless who wander the streets of South Florida today. Let the pastors there drop everything and simple BE available. Be Jesus for them. Let the Christians keep an open eye and ear and be quick to stop and pray with families impacted by this. Unite believers as they commit resources and time and space for the mourning and outpouring of emotion.
Second, we ask the Redeeming Son to show his dominion over the earth and give the church a robust response, courageous and without fear, when someone asks us “Why does this happen?” Let your kingdom come and will be done as the church speaks to the nature of evil and the merciful God who restrains it.
Satan is the original terrorist. If he had his way, there would be shootings every day, in every school. In every church when the doors were opened, there would be a barrage of fire and bodies on the ground. Yet God in his mercy restrains and saves.
Finally, Holy Spirit, comfort your people in this situation. Give them wise words as they speak through their tears. Let the inappropriately placed microphone and urging media be shocked at what comes from a Spirit-filled believer. Do not let them speak words of absolution upon Nikolas Cruz too soon, yet let them offer forgiveness to him in hope that you will mercifully grant him repentant faith.
There are no easy answers for parents who weep over dead teenagers today. But there is a Savior who welcomes them, and offers a profound hope and peace in the midst of Satan’s bloody retreat. Who offers a hope that one day, tears will dry and hopes will rise and our faith will be sight and there will be no more night, nor sun or moon, but we will have the LORD for an everlasting light.
In Jesus’ Name,