The news of another mass shooting. I try to feel, I try to hide deep in prayer and discover true emotion for people involved in this tragedy. I worry though, that I am becoming jaded.
Time after time these attacks saturate the media, and I am starting to go numb. I have a tough time deciphering if this numbness comes from the frequency of these horrific events and the sort of expectation of them -as brutal as that sounds- or, if because of that frequency -and the tiny bit of terror sitting in all of our hearts knowing that events like these could hit even closer to home- my brain just wants to avoid getting my feelings involved, and sort of ‘checks out’.
There is something, I think, we all can identify with however. It is the ‘up-in-the-air-ness’ feeling. The feeling of not knowing what you’re feeling. I’ve described some of my battle with it here, but it goes deeper, and there is more to it than that.
A storm of emotions spills into my mind after events similar to those that happened in Orlando over the weekend. Pile on practical thoughts: How would I act in a situation like that? Am I in danger of being in a situation like that? Toss in media coverage; just when you find a sense of understanding (I use this term loosely, there really is no true understanding acts of terror such as this), a new angle of the story is released that shoots your head back up into the fog. Put all of these components on ‘Blend’ and there you have it, a recipe for ‘up-in-the-air-ness’.
This definitely isn’t the first time I have felt this way, and though I pray it’s the last, the realist in me knows that is probably not the case.
When I was a student at Northern Illinois University, a similar situation occurred. A gunman opened fire in a lecture hall, where I comfortably sat the previous semester, killing five people and injuring 21 more before taking his own life.
Every time I hear about another one of these mass murders, this same feeling comes back. This ‘up-in-the-air-ness’ that was planted with Virginia Tech, but has roots as deep as the Oklahoma City Bombing. This feeling that branched off to a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 followed closely by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
With each massacre, the feeling grows.
So, how do I reverse this? When everything is so totally up in the air, how can I make sure I’m walking on solid ground? What can I rely on that will remain unchanging?
I remind myself of what I know to be Truth:
Before these situations came to be, and much, much further before that, God was there.
After these situations fizzle out, and much, much further after that, God will be there.
The Lord is my unchanging, solid ground.
God works for our eternal good. Because we are living it, we can’t usually see the bigger picture. We can’t see how all the dots are connected. And, we might never get that perspective, but, God has it covered. In the end, His plan will be complete. And His plan is GOOD.
But how can the outcome be GOOD when we keep witnessing these tragic, evil events?
We must know that sin is part of this life. Things will go wrong here (sometimes unbelievably, horribly wrong); we can’t expect a flawless earth-experience. However, what we are offered is a chance at eternal life. Romans 6
We can not possibly prepare for the hardships the world will bring, but we can trust that through it all, God remains faithful; God remains sovereign.
Little by little, my up-in-the-air-ness slowly morphs into down-on-solid-ground-ness. Thank you, Jesus.
Sometimes words are not found
All that hangs is an open mouth
A scene seen so many times before
Is left barren
After survivors burst through the door
Memories number as the hours pass
How long will this day last?