Reeling from the Tragedies

It seems like recently we reel from one tragedy to the next. We barely have time to collect our breath before we get the next “breaking news” alert on our cell phones that something else unthinkable has happened.

Here in the United States, high-profile deadly incidents have come fast and furiously lately — and we usually never hear about the smaller ones. Just this year, Fort Lauderdale, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Antioch, Las Vegas, New York, and now Sutherland Springs.

Each one is frightening, senseless, and heartbreaking.

It is sometimes difficult to nail down a motive. Some are obvious. Religious hatred, politics, domestic revenge, and mental illness have all come into play in recent attacks. Some, we may never know why the perpetrators did what they did.

Though mass shootings in a house of worship are not as rare as we wish, houses of worship are still one of the safest places to be. That’s why when one happens, it is even more shocking and unsettling.

And when the act is as overtly horrific as Sutherland Springs, it is even more so. To repeatedly and calmly target small children and babies goes beyond hatred and vitriol, it is demonic and flows from a Satanic evil that is beyond our understanding. To me, it signals that Satan is more than just alive and well on planet earth, he is in a rage — maybe a last-ditch, desperate effort to discourage as many believers as he can before Jesus returns for his Church.

It is almost impossible to know the words to say in moments like these. Most of us will never experience such sudden and devastating tragedy.

Though unbelievers may think these words are trite and pat, the believer understands when I say this: At these times, the only thing we can do is trust God and believe that there is a greater purpose for the things — even the tragic and painful — that happen in our lives. We will never be able to fully understand them or satisfactorily explain them.

The Bible tells us that in the time just before Jesus returns to catch away all true believers in the Rapture, evil will grow worse and worse. Men will do horrible things that are inexplicable. It says that whole societies will forget God. Right will be called wrong and wrong will be called right.

I think we are in those final days. And the fact that we are seeing so many acts of terrorism and so many acts of pure evil – like this one – just tells us that Jesus’ return is near.

You know, it’s often said that hindsight is 20/20. In another way, I think that looking back at yesterday can sometimes bring today into sharper relief. I know it can bring greater understanding.

Like many churches across America, First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, posts videos of some of its regular services. The video of the previous week’s Sunday morning service is available online. To watch it in light of what happened in that same sanctuary the following Sunday is both heartbreaking and incredibly uplifting.

The pastor is Frank Pomeroy. He and his wife survived the massacre because they were traveling. Their 14 year-old daughter Annabelle remained home with family friends. She was in the service and died.

The week before the unspeakable horror unfolded in that place, Pastor Frank preached on Proverbs 3:5, “Do not lean on your own understanding… Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

The worship team led the congregation in singing, “Forever God is faithful… His love endures forever. And by the grace of God, we will carry on.”

They sang, “And on that day, when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come, still my soul will sing Your praise unending, ten thousand years, and then forevermore.”

Today, some of those precious people are now in God’s presence, truly singing His praise forevermore.

We should follow their testimony and make certain we are ready to stand before Him, too. Because we do not know when it will be our turn to enter into His glory.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who survived and are suffering physically and emotionally. Remember the families and friends of those who died and those whose lives and bodies are forever changed. Pray that God will comfort them and hold them in His hands forever.

And pray, too, for those who are charged with caring for them and those who must re-live that awful day every day now because of their law enforcement and investigative duties. Pray that God will protect their minds, their hearts, and their spirits. They are dealing with an evil foe — Satan himself.

transmitted by Hal Lindsey – 11/10/2017

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