What is happening to us?
Land of the free, home of the brave.
A country of great pride and privilege.
Yet a land fraught with violence. The shocking statistic, we average a mass shooting (four or more shot), —nine out of every ten days. (The Guardian, Monday Oct 2, 2017: 1,516 Mass Shootings in 1,735 Days).
No other country comes close.
My Texas roots run deep and I am sickened. Almost half of the victims in Sutherland Springs, children. How can he have killed those innocents? And my grief weighs heavy at the thought of the victims, erased from the earth in violent blasts, mowed down in the act of worship on the Lord’s day.
And we cry out to God. Why?
And the evil one wants me wallow in the “Why?” He wants me to be so desperate for an answer that I become hardened toward my Lord. And as my soul trembles with fear, and my brain despairs, I must choose to accept the fact that I am not God and there are things on this earth I will never understand.
So I trust him full and turn to the only thing I know, the only thing that will calm my anxiety. The ancient words of truth spread a balm on my soul and wrap a soft blanket of comfort over my heart.
And here are seven of my favorites:
1. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
2. “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
3. “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
4. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
5. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
6. “I have told you these things so that you will have peace of heart and mind, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
7. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:6
And my breathing slows as the tension releases and I let go of pseudo control,
And I let his words fill me deep as I curl into his strong arms. He strokes my hair and murmurs soothing as a tear runs down his cheek, “This pains me too my child. You will have sorrow but trust me, I have overcome the world. I will give you my peace and walk with you as you tread this dark valley.”
And I know I must live each day to the fullest. I cannot let fear paralyze as the evil one hopes. He whispers, “Stay inside, avoid crowds, don’t travel, don’t go to concerts, don’t go to sporting events, don’t go to church, don’t, don’t, don’t…”
But what kind of life is that? And am I so afraid of losing my life that I am willing to stop living it?
Even when I know where my home is true?
And I vow to not be cowed by fear,
And I bow my head and pray for the congregants, the victims’ families, and for strength to stand strong against the waves of fear that course through my soul.
I am weak, but thou art strong Lord.