Tragedies have a way of bringing life into perspective. Concerns that were earthshaking on Thursday became trivial on Friday. Loved ones became more precious, the Lord more dear.
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I am relieved and thankful to know that the sovereign God of the universe has not abandoned His throne—He is still in control. He reigns supreme! In His permissive will, He allows evil to advance in order that He might accomplish a greater good than would have otherwise occurred (Gen. 50:20).
As a child of the King of Kings, I understand that my times are in His hand (Ps. 31:15). He is the keeper of my soul (Ps. 12:1). In Him, I move and breathe and have my very existence (Col. 1:16-17).
With such knowledge of a certain God in uncertain times, I cry with David: “Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
The days are evil and our time is short. Friday’s senseless shootings proved that once again. Hurting, despairing people are searching for peace and hope. We who know Jesus hold the key that can unlock their misery and set them free. We know that Friday’s tragic event was just a point in time on God’s great eternal continuum. We understand that to know God is to discover meaning in both life and death.
What are you doing to redeem the time? In the face of such tragedy, people may be ready to listen to the Savior’s message of love, hope, and forgiveness. Be sensitive to that neighbor, store clerk, friend at the gym, or gas attendant. What questions are they asking? Listen to discern spiritual hunger. What word of hope can you offer as a child of God?
Pray with people who call you on the phone and want to talk about the tragedy. Take them to the place of peace—the very throne room of God. Encourage them to find solace in the Scriptures. Philippians 4:4-9 is an excellent passage when dealing with fear and anxiety.
Indeed, a cheerful, joyful spirit can ward off discouragement which is Satan’s number one tactic to defeat us. Encourage people to dwell on God’s blessings and to look for the lovely, good, and right in life. Turn your grief into positive action by contributing to the financial, emotional, and spiritual needs of the victims’ families. This is a national grief that will last for many years. Be ready to offer comfort and assistance.
And finally, fill your mind with the Scriptures (Psalms is an excellent place to start) so that you can be ready when called upon to give a reason for the hope within you.
Life goes on. What will you do with the gift? Are you making the most of your time? Will you touch a hurting soul with the gospel message today?
I can assure you that the 26 people—children and teachers—who lost their lives that fateful Friday would tell you if they could that Jesus and people are the only two things that matter in life.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, conducts marriage seminars with her husband. The above article was excerpted from her book, When Mourning Comes, Living through Loss. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com