Words cannot express the sorrow, grief, shock, fear, horror, or pain that so many are going through after what happened in Las Vegas. Anyone affected by the incident on Oct 1, we are with you.
This is the time to hug your loved ones. Time to mourn if you’ve lost someone. Time to be angry, to pray, to cry, to talk to God. Give yourself time to heal. Be with friends. Be there for others who need you too. Let it out. Lean on each other.
If that’s where you are, I suggest doing that now. The last thing you need is a reference to Job and his suffering, or to hear that God won’t give us more than we can handle, or some other type of apathetic message about how the Lord’s will is always done in every situation. Please don’t continue reading at this time. You can always come back later.
Immanuel means God with us.
-And He is. Ask Him to be with you.
For anybody else… Could it be any more clear that there is still a war raging between Good and evil? This was absolutely the work of the enemy. This was a planned event, a long time in the making. I don’t know anything about the person who carried it out. I don’t know his story, or what he went through in his life. All I know is that Satan got in there and twisted his thoughts enough to compel him to carry out this tragedy. Then in the typical fashion of evil, he moves to divide us through accusations, in the midst of the pain and suffering.
No doubt we will be hearing every conceivable idea in the coming days. Fingers will be pointing at every possible connection. His family, previous employers, neighbors, hotel security, gun control laws, his age group, his race group, any church he’s ever attended even once… all the usual suspects. Meanwhile the real enemy, the great accuser who comes only to steal, kill and destroy, will try to sneak away in the aftermath unnoticed. He absolutely does not come to take credit for his involvement. In fact, he wants just the opposite. Exposing himself would be the worst thing for him. To recognize and admit that Satan exists means we automatically admit that God exists as well. If everyone on Earth absolutely knew that both God and Satan exist, they would rush to the side of God by the millions. Hundreds of millions.
So, why doesn’t God do that? we ask. Why doesn’t He directly just come out and expose Himself?
Maybe that’s why we’re here. I don’t mean my wife and I at Slaying Dragons. I mean all of us. The collective Christian body. We are here to win over the hearts and minds of others to God. Some with our testimony, and others with our example set forth by how we live our life. We are here to reach people like this man in Vegas before such a horrific act takes place. How many people do we cross paths with? How many people could we befriend, give hope to, offer a kind word to, or a helping hand? It makes a difference.
We don’t know who we walk past, and we don’t know who walked past this man either. Now to be fair, there may have been lots of people who tried to reach out to him throughout his lifetime without succeeding. The enemy is powerful, and doesn’t give up his ground easily. Legion doesn’t even follow Jesus at His first command. Check out Mark 5 and Luke 8. This is Jesus. Even He had to command these demons to leave more than once before they did so.
I’m not trying to discount what this man did. Enemy involvement or not, he still acted out of his own free will. I’m simply saying that there are other forces at work here as well that we cannot disregard. And where is God while all of this is happening?
John 11:35. Jesus wept.
The shortest verse in the Bible, but it speaks volumes. It is incredibly powerful, and it’s such an amazing display of the compassion that Christ has for mankind. Jesus wept when he saw all the people, especially the women, mourning over the death of Lazarus.
We need to remember that this is Jesus. He knew Lazarus was dead already, and He knew that He was going bring him back. By this time it was already recorded that Jesus had raised atleast two others from the dead. So, why did Jesus break down?
It was a sign of compassion. Mary and Martha were devastated. Jesus knew Lazarus would be fine in a few moments, but he took the time to come beside them and bear their pain with them.
I’m just reading into the text a little here, so I could be wrong. I’m not a theologian, and I don’t have a seminary degree or anything. What I see here is Jesus was deeply moved and He wept partly because of the hurt that they were going through, partly because their hope was lost (they had already completely buried Lazarus), and perhaps partly because Jesus is feeling the weight of evil that is upon this world. Pain, suffering, and death were never part of God’s original plan in the beginning. At this point in His human life Jesus has already experienced so much, and I have to believe that He is being affected by the grief and sorrow of this world. We have already seen Him physically drained from giving and serving, when He’s fast asleep in a boat that’s filling with water and about to capsize in a storm. The disciples had to go wake Him up. Is it too much to assume that Jesus is getting emotionally overwhelmed by what He has experienced?
The setting is heartbreaking, but the story is beautiful. Jesus could have just as easily said “hey. quit crying. I’m gonna bring old Lazzy back right now”. But He doesn’t. He validates their emotions. He shares their pain, comes down to their level, and weeps with them.
Our God, the one who breathes out stars and speaks galaxies into existence, loves us so much that He actually cries with us and shoulders our burdens. He did that 2000 years ago on such a powerful level, and He’s still doing that today. He knows what we go through, and He is here to heal and comfort and restore us.