As I watched the chilling footage of Stephen Paddock opening fire on concert-goers in Las Vegas, I did not know how to respond. Reading reports of a shooting is one thing, but seeing footage from one is another.
I watched the video after finishing what would have been yesterday’s blog post here at Honest Church. But the news of the shooting and my subsequent reaction to it – the deep feeling of unease in my gut as I watched what can only be described as raw evil – I realized I wouldn’t be posting that Monday.
That article will appear in the future, I am sure, but yesterday I was burdened to address this horrific incident instead. But words failed me. They failed me yesterday and they fail me today.
So I offer instead a prayer for those of you who are, like me, struggling to make sense of what happened in Las Vegas. I offer a prayer for those affected by this unspeakable act. I offer a prayer for the loved ones of those who perished. And I offer a prayer for Stephen Paddock’s family – who now have to deal with the reality that the man they knew and loved will now go down in history as the man behind the deadliest shooting in US history.
Father, in times like these we struggle to understand. We struggle to understand why things like this happen under your sovereign hand. But we submit to it and we acknowledge that your wisdom is far above our own.
Although we cannot make sense of this tragedy, we surrender to the fact that it is part of a much greater plan you have had from before the foundation of the world. But we ask, Lord, that you comfort those affected. Be with the families who lost loved ones. Be with the wives who are now husbandless, the children who are now motherless, and the friends who are now friendless.
Be with the family of the shooter. Help them find solace in these strange and uncertain times. And Lord, be with our country. Help us to put aside our political convictions, at least for a few days, so that we may properly mourn those who were lost in this event.
But most importantly, Father, use this for your glory. Use it to bring people into your kingdom. Let some good come out of this travesty. In your holy name, amen.
I leave you with the words of the apostle Paul from II Corinthians 1:3-4:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” [CSB]
Take these words and comfort those you can. As Christians, we might not be able to offer answers to questions that arise from tragedies like this, but we can offer the comfort that we ourselves received through Christ.