The closest thing I have to relate to this situation is that I too faced unexpected tragedy in my life. And from my experience I can say that tragedy alters one's life. There are two ways it can be altered... two ways you can choose to go. Either you allow it to change you for the better or you allow it to change you for the worse. I would have to say for me tragedy changed me for the better and continues to do just that. I see things differently, and although I relate closely to being sensitive I would say it made me that much more sensitive to tragedy and all those involved. In the case of the theater shooting in Aurora, CO this past weekend I would have to say that my heart grieves for ALL involved, including the man who allegedly caused this tragedy. I'm sure that comment right there is enough for people to comment and question why I would say such a thing, but I say that because clearly there was something so off within this individual, so altered in his brain that he made the choice he made. This is by no means an excuse for what he did, or to take away the unbelievable and incomprehensible pain that the families are feeling over the unexpected loss of their friends and family. I cannot imagine the excitement these individuals felt over the anticipation of being able to see this movie, staying up late to be one of the firsts to view it. I too have been excited about this movie coming out, but I have to say it's really hard to even think about seeing it now in light of what has happened. Not out of fear, but rather out of the fact that I'm not sure I can sit in the theater and watch this movie, knowing that I'll probably be wondering what those individuals in Aurora were feeling and estimating at what point the man who intended to cause so much harm walked in and altered the lives of so many.
BUT... it was not my intention to write this blog just to share how I felt about it, but rather to maybe, hopefully leave a bit of hope for someone who may have been closely affected by this tragedy. My hope, faith, trust, and love fall in the hands of the one who created this world. The one who created each of us... God. I don't know why such a tragedy would be allowed to happen, in the same way I'm not sure why He allowed tragedy to strike my family over 4 years ago. These are questions I have for that day I meet Him face to face, or at least that's how I feel right now. What I can say to all this is that we are not alone...
In the Bible, Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." And although we don't always understand why things happen as they do, God's word tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
I am keenly aware that all of this may mean nothing right now, when tragedy is still so fresh in the hearts and minds of those closely affected. For me, as strong as I'd say my faith is, as strong as my love and trust is in the Lord I too found myself so angry with Him soon after my nephew died four years ago. I was hurt and felt so alone, that the Lord did not hear my cries and prayers over Billy. But then one day while writing out of my broken heart there was this peace that came over me, one that surpassed any understanding I felt I had over the situation and I chose to walk a different way. I chose to walk in hope, to continue to trust and trust more deeply in the one who loves me more than anyone else in the world. I chose to continue to live the life He has laid out for me, to continue to dream the dreams that have been placed on my heart. And I encourage you, dear readers to do the same. In the midst of this most recent tragedy, the tragedies that may have affected you in the past, or the those that might affect you in the future... always, always chose to walk in the light, in hope, in love for He has amazing plans for you.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV84)