The nation has been sad this week following the Las Vegas shooting last Sunday. In many ways, I have not seen people so generally depressed since 9/11. It’s like a blanket of malaise has draped itself over our nation.
And people are asking why.
There are many true answers to the question. The scope of suffering is so broad and the pain of suffering so excruciating and personal, it takes approaches from many angles to get our hearts and minds around why suffering occurs and how best to respond.
Of the many answers to this question, this answer has been hanging in my head all week.
It all started with a tweet. Someone ended a tweet about the Las Vegas tragedy with,
“Come, Lord Jesus come.”
And my instant thought was, “No, not yet.”
One Answer: God allowed the sun to rise and set again last October 1, 2017 (even though He grieved the evil so much I don’t know how He didn’t close the curtain) because He was still chasing every human being with His love.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Last Sunday, everyone on the face of the earth was granted another 24 hours to exercise the gift of free choice, a gift God has allowed each of us to exercise since the beginning of time. Each of us gets to decide every day whether to do good or evil, whether to live life in our own strength or His, or whether to accept His gift of salvation or reject it.
One person chose to use the day for hate and precious lives were lost.
With great respect, the nation extends heartfelt sympathies to the families of Hannah Ahlers, Heather Alvarado, Dorene Anderson, Carrie Barnette, Jack Beaton, Steve Berger, Candice Bowers, Denise Salmon Burditus, Sandy Casey,Andrea Castilla, Dennis Cohen, Austin Davis, Thomas Day Jr., Christiana Duarte,Stacee Etcheber, Brian Fraser, Keri Galvan, Dana Gardner, Angela Gomez, Rocio Guillen, Charleston Hartfield, Chris Hazencomb, Jennifer Irvine, Nicol Kimura, Jessica Klymchuk, Carly Kreibaum, Rhonda LeRocque, Victor Link, Jordan McIldoon, Kelsey Meadows, Calla Medig, Sonny Melton, Pati Mestas, Austin Meyer, Adrian Murfitt, Rachael Parker, Jennifer Parks, Carrie Parsons, Lisa Patterson, John Phippen, Melissa Ramirez, Jordyn Rivera, Quinton Robbins, Cameron Robinson, Tara Roe Smith, Lisa Romero-Muniz, Christopher Roybal, Brett Schwanbeck, Bailey Schweitzer, Laura Shipp, Erick Silva, Susan Smith, Brennan Stewart, Derrick Taylor, Neysa Tonks, Michelle Vo, Kurt Von Tillow, Bill Wolfe Jr.
These amazing, precious people went to a country western concert and it was their last day. (You can get to know them in this article.) That reality is sad enough as it is, but how their death occurred takes our breath away. A shooter using his freedom of choice for such evil is incomprehensible.
We wonder how God could let such hate remain another day.
Hate was allowed to exist so His love could still exist.
What love and hate have in common is free choice. Remove free choice, you remove both from our earth. Love means to choose forgiveness, to choose to love an enemy, to choose to sacrifice for another person. Erase our choice to hate, then we can’t love either, and our world without love would become even worse than what we are already seeing in it these days.
The person who tweeted that sentence is a Christian. Her eternity is secure. But I have a list of people I am still praying will make a decision to choose a relationship with God through Jesus and spend eternity in heaven with me.
You have such a list too.
And for those people, God let the sun rise and set again on Sunday, October 1.
Because last Sunday remained on the calendar of history, every person alive had the opportunity every day since then to accept God’s gift of His Son’s death on the cross as payment for our sin.
And many did.
There will be a day when our holy God will have to close the curtain on earth’s history, but the sun rose again this morning because God is still chasing every person He created with His love. He does not want you or anyone you know to perish, so He keeps hanging in there one more day…then one more day…then one more day…and I am so grateful for every one of them.
Picture Explanation: A little bit of normal life mixed in with all things not normal.
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