The phone continued to buzz as my sleepy husband fumbled in the dark to answer the call. A late night call from one of his employees left us awake for what seemed like an eternity. As I was finally drifting back off to sleep, the background noise from the TV barely caught my attention. A gunman at a Las Vegas hotel, I thought I heard. I said a prayer, hoping it was nothing, and fell asleep. But numerous times throughout the night, I awakened. The TV had long since turned off, but I was questioning whether I had heard the report right. I was concerned – and prayed each time I awakened. As soon as I got to my computer this morning, I quickly discovered I had heard right. But it was worse than I ever imagined. A gunman opened fire on concert goers, killing 59 and injuring over 500. I wept. I prayed. I wept some more.
(Photo credit: John Locher)
Then I started hearing from folks I know. A student’s friend was okay, but had sustained a gunshot wound to the leg. A colleague’s Pastor had lost two friends in the attack. As I started to learn about the far reaching impact of this tragedy that seemed to happen so far from my South Carolina home, my mind drifted back…
~A friend present at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.
~Another friend in New York City the day of 9/11.
~Countless friends slammed by hurricanes.
~Friends that lost loved ones in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Mass shootings. Natural disasters. Terrorist attacks. War.
These are not just distant events that we can easily remove ourselves from and forget about. The pain – immeasurable pain – advances. It’s not just those that are present in those horrifically destructive moments, but everyone they know. And everyone they know. It spreads out to all humanity. It breaks out hearts, and sometimes, it almost breaks us completely.
My human heart can’t take much more. But, thank God, it is not our burden to carry alone. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can go on. You can go on. We can go on. Together. We can – and should – lament. God knows our pain, and He wants us to turn to Him. He wants to comfort us as only He Can. He longs to grant us peace that surpasses all earthly understanding.
To help me get through this, God gave me a song. Throughout the day, the lyrics ran through my mind as if the song was on repeat in my brain. Just Give Me Jesus. It brings me great solace, and I pray the same for you. As you watch and listen, please join me in prayer for the many who have been impacted by yet another tragic event. That’s all of us, friends. That’s all of us.