when oceans rise :: facing tragedy

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bridge | florida, 2016
     

// your grace abounds in deepest waters || [ oceans/where feet may fail, hillsong ]

Everyone always says the same thing: “It happened so fast.” Out of nowhere, in a perfectly unsuspecting moment, something that changes your entire life takes place in a matter of seconds or minutes.

 

A drunk girl is senselessly raped.

A singer in her prime is killed for no apparent reason.

A group of partygoers are fiercely attacked and massacred.

 

These are the facts of the recent tragedies that have made our nation recoil in horror, in shame, in grief.

Each day these same types of crimes occur. Maybe they don’t break the headlines or maybe they don’t happen to someone well known, but rape and murder and hate crimes and kidnaps and theft occur every minute of every day without fail.

Many of these perpetrators claim they acted “in the name of God” or for His approval or to gain entrance into heaven.

In turn, the victims often direct their outrage and confusion towards God.

The truth is: none of the general knowledge floating around in the world is enough to reveal who the God of Scripture really is—His nature & identity.

 

In the rape case, a woman was humiliated because…her rapist didn’t recognize her as made in the image of a Divine Creator.

In the murder case, a young singer succumbed to fatal injuries because…her killer didn’t value the sacredness and fragility of life.

In the massacre case, many lost their lives because… their gunman harbored deep-seated and misguided hate.

 

And who is God in all of this?

Did He turn His eyes away from the senseless assault? Did He shrug off the loss of another life? Murders happen so often… Did He tell the gunman to kill as many people as possible in order to please Him and receive a coveted spot in heaven?

Some people think so. Some people believe this. And I don’t blame them.

Culture’s idea of God is fluid and fickle. It comes from individual experience and from the media and from extremist groups’ slogans. There might as well not even be a God if He can do and say half as many things people attribute Him to.

But there is a God. A God who is never changing, who is ever watchful, who has died for life, and who speaks words of love.

Be angry at the deity culture has stitched together. That is not God. That is the thing we, as society, have created and now are left to fear.

 

The true God says:

 

“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him for he is your lord” to the rape victim. She is not ruined and broken, but powerful and beautiful. She has a voice and an influence.

[ psalm 45:11 ]

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? … Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows” to the fans who mourn the loss of a sweet songbird. Her death has not defamed life, but made it clear that life is precious and to be lived as if each day were your last.

[ matthew 10:29-31 ]

 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” to those who have lost loved ones or are traumatized or are injured from the mass shooting. There was nothing pleasing in this act of rampant violence. There were no rewards won for the killer. Nothing. Instead, the act of hate has been smothered in love as the world has joined together to mourn and celebrate the value of each life now tragically lost.

[ psalm 147:3 ]

I cannot claim to understand the anguish of the losses experienced. But I can understand their impact. I can see the results and the scars marked across people. And I am heartbroken. But I am even more determined to declare the truth about the God I know—the one of the Scriptures who breathes life, who calms storms, who loves unconditionally, and who has promised to conquer evil.

For: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? It is swallowed up in victory!”

[ 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ]

 

[ au revoir, hannah ]

 

 

 

 

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