Where Was God?
“Las Vegas massacre is deadliest shooting in modern US history.”
We have read that headline before, different city, same declaration. Random acts of violence have become an all too common occurrence, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Boston, Charlottesville, Nashville and closer to home, Wedgwood Baptist Church.
On Sunday, October 1st, thousands of people innocently, eagerly showed up at the Mandalay Bay Hotel to enjoy the simple pleasure of music with people from all walks of life. They wound up enduring fifteen minutes of hell that will bond them and mark them for the rest of their lives. Hundreds were wounded. 59 were savagely wiped off the face of planet earth in an evil, random fashion.
One week later, we still know very little about the shooter who opened fire on the crowd. We know he was 64, that he was an accountant, that he lived just outside of the city, that he was a high roller gambler, that he had no criminal record and that he had been estranged from his father for years. The investigation is ongoing and hopefully a motive will soon be discovered, but we already know enough to say that he was far from God, lost, full of hate and used by the dark forces of evil to unleash hellacious pain and suffering upon God’s daughters and sons. I trust God knows how to deal with his tormented soul.
Relatively speaking, we have also learned little about the 59 he murdered. We know they were moms and dads, daughters and sons, teachers, nurses, first responders, truck drivers and the newly married. We know they were ordinary people like you and me, some dying heroically protecting others as a human shield from the barrage of hot flying lead. We have heard some stories about their spouses, children and loved ones left behind but we don’t really know them. We do not know the full extent of their pain, their grief, their heartache but our hearts break for them as we watch them bury their family and friends.
Pray for God to deliver the comfort, healing, and hope each of them so desperately needs, most likely as they have never needed before. Pray that a peace that passes all understanding will fall upon the families of the deceased, the wounded and the thousands who will most likely suffer some form of survivor’s guilt, including PTSD.
When tragedy strikes we ask “Where was God?” The all loving, all knowing, sovereign God was right in the middle of the chaos, saving, protecting, comforting, encouraging, answering prayer. And God is close by now, ready to sustain and help the brokenhearted who call on his name.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“For God will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy, and save the needy from death. (eternal) He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” Psalm 72:12-14.
When God looks at a war zone like the one in Las Vegas, God cringes at the violence, weeps over the fallen and sends angels of mercy to bind up the souls of those hidden in Jesus, who cry out to him in faith. Their spilled blood is precious to the One who shed his own blood on the cross for us all.
For decades Las Vegas has been known as Sin City, but Vegas has never known the hell that for fifteen minutes invaded the city that never sleeps. I am praying and hoping Vegas will experience the transforming love of God through the prayers, compassion and acts of kindness of God’s people. I pray that citizens, guests and those watching around the world, will taste the goodness of God and get a glimpse of heaven on earth like never before.
There is a lot we don’t know about the perpetrator, the deceased, the traumatized masses and the political posturing that is sure to come, but our hope is not in WHAT we know. Our hope is in WHO we know, Jesus Christ, the face of God, who reveals that God is loving, merciful and good.
Pray that the lasting legacy of this tragedy will not be the horror of evil, the scars of grief and PTSD or the politics of gun legislation but the life changing love, mercy and goodness of God.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
I am praying for you. Please pray for the souls of the world.