“Not again” and a pit in my stomach was my first response when hearing of the tragic shooting in a Sutherland, Texas church. I then began to grieve for the pastor whose 14 year old daughter had been killed. In the midst of his own pain, hundreds will be looking to him for comfort and answers. I cannot imagine. My thoughts then went to the little church and the community as a whole. 50% of the First Baptist congregation and 5% of the total Sutherland Springs population was gone in seconds. Who can fathom the scope of their suffering!
I then considered the family of the shooter. What were they feeling? Anger? Embarrassment? Shame? Guilt? And I could not help but wonder about the irrational thoughts and distorted emotions of the perpetrator himself. What prevented him from better managing his evil thoughts? What tipped him over the edge? Why didn’t he reach out for help? What if he did and no one responded?
Feeling helpless and perplexed by questions that had no clear answers, I began to pray for all involved. I read Ephesians 6:10-18 and Romans 8 for assurance. I began to thank God for the safety of my own family. I got in touch with how much I love you and the pride I feel in getting to serve as your Senior Pastor. I also reflected again on one reminder from our weekend message, tomorrow is not guaranteed. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
In the midst of my many questions and ever changing emotions, I thanked God for our session empowering a Safety Team to be trained for an active shooter walking through our Pathway doors. I pray the day never comes, but know that we have a group of well trained, equipped and supervised servants ready to respond.
In the meantime, what do we do besides pray?
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I am praying for you. Please pray for me.