Posted by: pastortomvabeach | June 3, 2019

Thought For The Week June 9, 2019

By now the entire nation has heard the horrific news about the senseless atrocity that happened in our city of Virginia Beach on Friday, May 31.  I can’t add anything to the story but hope I can offer some thoughts to help us process these sorts of incidents and continue to faithfully trust our loving God.

I heard someone say that this sort of thing might be expected in other cities in Virginia but never in Virginia Beach.  We have a reputation here of being one of the safest cities of our size in the nation.  For a city of nearly half a million people, Virginia Beach feels much like a small town in America.  For the most part, residents are kind, generous, helpful, and want to keep our city safe and pleasant for everyone.  This event was doubly upsetting because it seemed to happen where one would least expect it.

All that being said, we must remember that Jesus, commenting on two incidents in which innocent people had been killed said, Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?  Is that why they suffered?  Not at all!  And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them?  Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No. (Luke 13:1-5).  His point is that we live in a fallen world and unthinkable things can happen to anyone, not just to those in places where we think it’s most likely to happen.  It is only by God’s grace that any of us is spared from the pain of terrible circumstances.

In both instances, Jesus related the physical situation to our spiritual situation saying, you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.  This is not to say that every sinner will meet an untimely end but that spiritual life comes from repentance and faith in Christ.  Ultimately physical death is not the greatest calamity we face.  It is spiritual death and separation from God that is more dreadful.

Finally, there is a promise that Jesus made that most of us would rather not remember.  John records it in John 16:33; Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  It’s really no surprise that these kinds of things happen, again, since we live in a sin-damaged world.  That’s the nature of this fallen world.

Now it may seem that I am being kind of fatalistic and negative in my thinking but my reasoning for sharing this is actually to encourage us.  Yes, Jesus said that bad things would happen in this world, but in the same verse He said, I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  How are we to have peace if the world is full of trials and sorrows?  We can have peace because of the rest of the verse, take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Though we live in the world, the world is not our forever home nor a place to be feared.  Jesus defeated the power of sin and death by taking the sin of the world upon Himself and carrying it to Calvary.  His death opened the door to salvation for us and His resurrection proved His claim to victory.  We do not have to fear the uncertainties of life and live in despair because of the fallen nature of the world.  Trusting in Jesus lifts us above all of the bad things that can happen here.  We can experience real joy even when things are not going as well as we would like or even far worse than we want.

On Sunday, June 2, the Lord spoke a word to us during worship.  It was from Psalm 27, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  How fitting is it that, that in the wake of such a fearful act, God would come to His people and remind us that in our relationship with Him, we have nothing to fear.  Even death itself need not alarm us.  While we certainly abhor such evil actions and pray fervently that things like this never happen again, we understand that our God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, is with us no matter what life brings.  We can trust Him and live our lives in confidence and peace.

If you have any opportunity to minister to someone who witnessed this atrocity or knows one or more of the victims or those who do, let the Holy Spirit enable you to be a stable and comforting presence for their lives.  Try to be Jesus for them.  Just a thought.

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