When you don’t understand: Trust and Believe
When you don’t understand: Trust and Believe
I woke up this morning and turned on the TV hoping to get a weather update, instead I was greeted by the death of more than 50 people in Las Vegas. I was more than appalled at the senseless loss of innocent lives; I was mad. I didn’t know these people but you should be able to go to a concert without worrying about your safety or the safety of your family.
I was mad that Hurricane Maria had devastated Puerto Rico. My sister had stayed in Puerto Rico and after more than a week had just been able to send me a text. I was mad that people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were so dependent on the response of others to their plight. I was mad that it seems to take alien invasions or other catastrophes to bring us together.
I turned the TV off and for the most part I avoided the radio and the news for the rest of the day; after all there is only so much negativity a person can take and I had reached mine. But as my anger began to subside I realized that for me the remainder of the day would be mostly the same. I worked, ate dinner and spent time with my family.
Late in the evening I turned on the TV hoping to find some form of escape. It just so happened that the movie, A Few Good Men was on. The movie was almost over but perhaps the most memorable scene of the film was about to play. In the scene a Marine Colonel, played by Jack Nicholson, responds to a demand for “the truth” from the Navy Attorney, Tom Cruise, with the famous quote “You can’t handle the truth.”
We can’t handle the truth. A few years, ago it was nine members of a church in South Carolina, and more than 50 years ago it was four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama. The truth is that we will never understand what can bring a lone gunman or a bomber to take the lives of these innocent people. We can’t handle the truth and doubt that it would make sense.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:1-2, NIV)
The truth is that violence, such as what we have witnessed, doesn’t come as a result of freedom, self-determination or choice but from a lack of knowledge and understanding. It comes from rage, pride, and ego; it comes from our human knowledge and that’s a problem. “Human knowledge, apart from God, is flawed. We know that all of us have knowledge, but knowledge can be risky. Knowledge promotes overconfidence and worse arrogance, but charity of the heart (love, that is) looks to build up others. (1 Corinthians 8:1, VOICE). Therefore, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, without seeking God, is foolishness.
It seems that sometimes when we can’t understand why things happen we blame God. The truth is violence is not God’s solution to our problems, and it certainly isn’t His fault. The crazy, and undeniable, truth is, that in spite of ourselves, God loves us! How much? “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, TLB).
The truth is we will never know how or why these seamlessly random acts of violence continue to happen; but following every disaster and every violent act there is an outpouring of love and charity.
The things that divide us seem to disappear to disappear, or at least are put on hold. For a moment in time, we come together in the spirit of Christ. We become leaders. Why does this happen? Because “only love can conquer hate” (Marvin Gaye, 1971).
Love is the answer. Love bring forgiveness. The kind of love that can bring a church to forgive a shooter or a bomber. The kind of forgiveness that, Matthew West (2012) describes when he, says:
“It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you.”
The kind of love that begs to the Heaven; “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NLV). So how do we begin to model His love? Rick Warren, pastor, Saddleback Community Church, says:
- We need to pray.
- When things are out of our control, we need to trust God.
- We need to seek peace.
- We need to support each other.
It is that simple, and it is that difficult. I doubt that I have seen the last disaster or senseless act of violence. I am human and most likely will be mad again. I know that I can’t rely on human knowledge. It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6, GNT). I am charged with being a part of the solution and I know He has a plan to help me through it. He has one for you too. Won’t you join me in and asking for his help?