Friday, June 10th, Orlando... "Voice" contestant Christina Grimmie is fatally shot at a concert.
Sunday, June 12, Orlando... 50 are killed and over 50 more are wounded in a mass shooting at a night club
Tuesday, June 14, Orlando... 2-year-old killed by an alligator at Disney.
That’s just Orlando in the past week.
Saturday, June 11, at Letchworth State Park, New York, near where I live... seven people fell over the lower falls and two brothers, ages nine and six, lost their lives.
And in this same period of time (less than one week), over 400 innocent civilians throughout the world have been killed due to religious or politically motivated terror attacks. (Wikipedia). In June alone - that's right, a month that is only half over - the terror attack death total around the world is 1,394. Most people are not aware that terrorist attacks are now common worldwide.
Innocent people become casualties to a fallen world every day - including children. There is nothing good about this, nothing right, nothing justifiable. The tragedy at the night club is not ultimately about sexual orientation or a twisted form of religious justice.
What happened there and everywhere else in the world brings us back to the condition of the world itself. The evil sides of mankind and the world (including the beasts of the world, i.e., alligators and gorillas) are the result of evil and sin entering the world thousands of years ago.
The "serpent" Lucifer was able to deceive mankind and steal the dominion that God had given to man over the earth and "every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). As depressing as this may sound, tragedy, evil acts, war, sickness, yes, and even death itself, became a part of the world's culture as a result.
I know that everyone is wondering why God does not fix the problem and prevent these things from happening any longer, especially when it comes to children.
The psalmist in Psalm 77:9 said, "Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah." His reflection is the same as ours.
I do not claim to have all of the answers. And I know that what I say here will not be enough.
However, I can tell you what has helped me get a grasp on these things.
When God created us, He gave us free choice and the responsibility to lead and rule the world His way. Now that we have thrown that plan under the bus, He has given us the even better plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, His Son. In Him, we have life and have it more abundantly. In Him we have eternal life. Not even death can keep us down. In Him we have peace. We have more love than can be imagined. We do not "want" for anything when we walk with and have faith in Him.
On top of all of that, He has called us to be a part of the answer instead of the problem. The world is waiting for us to change it. And if we die in the process... He promises even greater reward.
I know this sounds contradictory, but we have to keep our perspective. God did not promise that we would not be confronted by all that Hell has to throw at us. In fact, He promised quite the opposite. Jesus said, "In the world, you will have tribulation."
But He also said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)
Please do not misunderstand. If your loved one has been the victim of a tragedy, there is nothing to "cheer" about in our natural state. My heart grieves with every parent, every brother or sister, every grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin or friend who has had to endure the tragedy of their loved one.
And so does the heart of God.
The condition of this world and all of its destruction and death, not just the parts that you and I experience, are breaking His heart by the minute. Jesus, after going back to heaven, made it clear to Saul, the terroristic persecutor and murderer (before He became the apostle Paul) that his actions were as much against Him (Jesus) as they were against His people. Jesus personally felt the pain of that persecution and death over each of His saints.
God is not immune to the tragedy. God is with us in every circumstance. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and you become the victim of such happenings, remember the following truths...
... You are destined for eternal life. Heaven is waiting for you!
... God is with you now, by His grace, and this will never change.
... If you are a survivor of tragedy, you have a purpose from God that is waiting to be fulfilled.
... You have power over evil to rise up in victory. Make the devil wish he had left you alone!
... It is now your job to help others who do not know Christ.
How can you comfort, serve, heal, and help? How might God use you to lead someone to Christ while their world is crashing down around them? An eternity in hell is the worst tragedy of all.
The answers are there for us. But we have to have an open heart to receive and know how to respond in the middle of it all.
... Pray for those who are facing tragedy.
... If you know them, or can get to them, help them.
Make a call, send a text, email or Facebook them.
... Take food or money to help them through the initial stages of the pain.
... Be there after everyone else is long gone. Be their friend. Love and bless them "big."
You cannot fix every tragic circumstance. If it is your tragedy, then you will need the grace from God and help from others to be strengthened and restored. But if it is someone else's tragedy then you can be there as an agent of healing and restoration.
To them, God may be far away. But to God, He is right there in and through you to bring His love, His healing, and His peace.
And don't forget... Jesus is still the answer!
Let's change the world together