I have no words to express the thoughts going through my head. I am heartbroken for the families, the friends, the relatives, and the neighbors. What do you say when there are two devastatingly horrific acts of violence in one seven-day period. Over 30 lives lost. Over 30 lives that could have impacted thousands, if not millions of people, ended. This level of evil, this depravity, and wanton disregard for life disgust me. While I sit and ponder how someone could commit an act like this, I sadly know that more heinous acts are yet to come. This is the reality of the world we live in, and it makes me afraid for my children as they grow up in this violence-saturated culture. I fear for their safety. I desperately want to hold them and protect them, never letting them out of my sight.
But my holding on to them will not protect them. My fear for them will not change the world around us. What I can do is cling, cling to the old rugged cross. I have a picture on my wall that simply states this single line, “I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown.” You may find it odd, but this one line comforts me amid tragedy and in my fear. The way to protect my children is to show them the love of the Father. The way to protect them is to teach them and show them the grace the sacrifice of the Son has given them. The way to protect them is to depend on the faithfulness of the Spirit to keep us in the faith. This may not protect them from the dangers of this world, but it will guide them to cling to the One that died on the old rugged cross. To the One that rose again on the third day. One who has defeated death and promises that those who believe will live forever with Him.
Does this remove the sorrow I feel for those who lost loved ones? No. I still am shocked by these senseless atrocities. Does this altogether remove the fear I have for my children? No, but it reminds me of who our hope is in and who is in control. We who cling to the cross must encourage others to cling to the old rugged cross with us so that they too can exchange it someday for a crown.
Gracious and Merciful God,
Comfort all those who mourn. Protect those who need protection. Convict and lead to repentance those who seek to harm so that they may know you. Help us, Spirit. Help us to cling to the old rugged cross, to the gracious mercy and love of the Son.
Lord in Your mercy,