Horrific tragedies such as the Las Vegas mass shootings impact us all on some level and have the ability to change how we approach our life’s journey and perceive others.
Tragedies of this magnitude make us keenly aware of the presence of evil and people in this world, here and abroad, who do not value life — not their lives or ours, nor the lives of our children, parents or other loved ones. And, this knowledge can excite fear within us, since we never know which people are safe or where something horrific could potentially happen to us or someone we love or care about.
And although some of the broken souls who commit such acts of violence may feel as if the power of life and death and the right to make choices for others lie within their hands, I’m glad that their flawed truth does not have to be my reality. God is still Almighty; His creation is not. However, the actions of people influenced by evil to kill, steal and destroy, in order to take away other’s personal power and right to choose — their right to choose life, to choose their path, to choose what is true and good for them — show just how far-reaching the impact one person’s faulty thinking and actions can have on so many lives.
Tragedy often prompts us to question God, especially in situations that are far beyond our control. Some people are probably asking where was God during the Las Vegas shootings. And in answering that question for myself, it brings me hope in believing that God was right there among the crowd in Las Vegas with His people, walking through the crowd and taking on bullets. I wonder how many bullets God’s presence may have deflected and prevented more people from losing their lives. And had He not been there, if the 59 dead could have been 500 or more.
Although God does not promise us that we’d never feel the affects of evil decisions made by unstable people, He does promise to never fail or forsake us, (Deu. 31:6, I Sam. 12:22, Ps. 23) and to be a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1). So, I believe when we face trouble or danger, God is present to walk with us in our trouble and danger — even when the outcome means death or injury as it did in Las Vegas. This is my comfort in a world with so much uncertainty.
While the actions of the Las Vegas gunman may have excited fear in Las Vegas and beyond, I believe the love of God, our passion to retain our freedom to move about freely, and to choose our path will empower and give us courage in the face of fear and danger. And, I also believe this same passion and courage compelled some of those who died to lose their lives, and some of the wounded to sustain injuries to save the lives of loved ones and, in some cases, complete strangers.
Moreover, it will be this same passion (and compassion) and love that gives Las Vegas, the families affected by the shootings, and this country the courage to move through this valley of tragedy. And for some, I’m confident it will become a part of their personal journey to advocate for gun control.
But, whatever path we take individually or as a country moving forward, it would be best done with prayer for each other, our country and the world, because ultimately, we are interdependent and in this together. Pray for Las Vegas and the affected families — and even the family of the gunman. The devastation is unimaginable on both sides of the fence.