Friday night, July 20, I wrote most of this blog before the tragic, heartbreaking shooting in Aurora, Colorado had happened. I actually posted it at 9:10 PM that night on another site that offers prayer for hurting parents. Just now I read the incredible blog of a mom who was in that theater with her husband and two teenage daughters. They were just 40 or 50 feet away from the shooter. Somehow they miraculously got out unharmed. They are Christians and they still believe God is good. How is that possible you may ask? How can God be good when he allows such evil acts to occur to innocent people? Is he really a loving and kind God? Read her blog: A Miniature Clay Pot. Her words are powerful. Thought-provoking.
This senseless violence has really been heavy on my heart. Like many of you, I feel it on my chest throughout the day. So much loss of life. So much trauma. So much pain and suffering. The shooter’s hopelessness and despair. What could drive someone to commit such a horrific act?
Then there are his parents. Oh God, his parents. Have you thought of them, too? As a parent of a troubled child you probably have. They have been continuoulsy on my heart and in my prayers since I heard the news. I can only begin to imagine how much they need prayer. How much they need comfort and support. How deep must be their sense of shock, shame and grief. All hope may be gone. How my heart breaks for them. Their lives are changed forever. But I want to say that even in the midst of such evil, God is still God and he is still good . . . and there is still hope, even in such thick, inpenetrable darkness. Hope lives.
Here is what I wrote Friday evening:
CALAMITY – a disastrous, catastrophic event causing great and sudden amounts of damage or distress; a disaster bringing terrible loss or severe misfortune like a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or flood; a state of grievous affliction, adversity or misery. An event that produces extensive evil and loss; causing serious effects of suffering and harm.
What do parents need in times of calamity?
1) To know where to turn first for help – to God who is their refuge and strength, a constant source of help in any trouble. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46: 1)
2) To know God is with them, not far from them. “God did this (determined when and where we would live in time and history) so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17: 27)
3) To fill their minds with God’s Word that can strengthen them, comfort them, sustain them and give them hope. (Ps. 119: 28, 50, 114 & 116)
4) An eternal perspective – their suffering has a bigger purpose, showing God’s power, achieving for us an eternal weight of glory, and to comfort others. (2 Cor. 4: 7-11, 16-18; 2 Cor. 1: 3-5)
5) Faith to accept trouble as well as good from the Lord; confidence to believe that even though he may slay them they will still hope in him. (Job 2;10, 13:15)
6) To find reasons to praise their Maker even though He may have “taken away”. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away . . .” (Job 1: 21)
7) Hope, hope and more hope to not lose sight of the plans God has for them – to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them (and their children) a hope and a future. “I know the plans I have for you, for your welfare and not to harm you; to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11)
8) Peace, peace and more peace! The very peace of Christ filling their hearts when troubled, helping them overcome fear. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
9) To remember they do not suffer alone. There are thousands of good parents whose children have rebelled, not to mention the very first parent, GOD himself! We are in good company! (Genesis 3)
10) To keep taking One Day at a Time! Don’t worry about our lives or about tomorrow! It won’t change a thing or help one little bit. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. . . who by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . . Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:25, 27 & 34)
There is a lot more that could be on this list. These are the basics I thought I would remind you of today!
A great book that might help you if you are struggling to make sense of this tragedy is When God Doesn’t Make Sense by James Dobson.
O God, Our Redeemer, Rescuer, Good Shepherd, help us remember these things as we walk through our times of calamity. For you are Lord over all calamities. In you we will conquer. In you we have hope.
“Even in darkness (hopelessness, trouble, despair, foreboding, uncertainty, suffering) light dawns for the upright . . . surely he will never be shaken. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalms 112:4)