Saturday, July 21, 2012

Faith Believes Good Lies Beneath the Bad

The tragedy in Colorado yesterday left my heart very sad.  I don't know anyone there.  I have never even been to Colorado.  I didn't expect to know anyone even remotely involved with anyone who might have been in the theater.

But it made me sad.

It brought me back to other phone calls, other tragedies announced, other events that can never be undone.  "It's John."  "Dean was in an accident."  "He's in jail.  One of them had a gun."  "He was just sleeping on the couch and someone drove by and shot into the house."  "The gun went off.  It was an accident." 

Every time a senseless death occurs, two lives are lost.  The one who holds the gun, the one who receives the bullet.  The one who drives drunk, the one who is hit by the drunk driver.  Every time a strong armed crime is adjudged, two futures are altered.  One whose youth is stolen in prison, one who faces fear every time the door clicks open behind them.

Two lives unalterably changed.  Two sets of families and friends grieving.  Two sets of tragedy.

I hate guns.  I hate alcohol. You can't change my mind.  I know those things are part of American life.  They aren't a part of my every day, but their stamps remain long behind.

The shooting in Colorado reminded me also of other tragedies:  Columbine, Oklahoma City, Ground Zero.  I wasn't connected to any of those events, either, but they made me want to hug my kids and find a way to protect them from the random violence of the world.  Now I add Aurora to the list.

I would like to wrap them up - all the kids of mine - and never let them out of the house just to be sure nothing bad ever happens to them.  I want to find a way to eradicate the violence so they never understand the sadness of traumatic loss.  I want to cover their eyes and ears and build a wall around them.

I'm not the one in charge of the world, however.  What if they are the one to find the answer?  What if God has given them a difficult path to face leaving behind a wake of compassion, grace, strength, hope?  I'm not saying God is the author of tragedy.  But I know from my own life that if we give God an opportunity, He will teach us something through the worst days.  Some good lays beneath the sadness if we allow Him to show us.

I have a list of survivors I could give you. Some became bitter, angry, victims of the events trying to self-medicate the pain away.  Some became activists spurred to draw attention, change laws, bring the elephant in the room out of hiding.  Some became gentle, compassionate, listeners who change the future one hug at a time.

I hope the senseless tragedies which left footprints and holes in my heart have made me the compassionate type.  I hope I never forget how it felt to hear the phone calls so I have grace to give when the phone rings for someone else.

You can think I'm simple or foolish.  That's ok.  Black days have taught me to have faith.

I have faith in God who tells me regardless of the awful, tragic, horrific events of life, some good can be found beneath it all.  He is the Author and Finisher of my faith and teaches me all things work together for good for those who love Him and those who are called according to His purpose.

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