Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just say that it’s been a week of mourning for America, with the country experiencing what has now been labeled the largest mass shooting on American soil. It’s an event that few will ever forget. I know that it’s been on my heart and mind since I heard of the mass shooting on Monday morning. It’s affected my sleep and has disturbed my peace of mind. Though my body has had its own reactions to the Las Vegas Shooting, my hope is strong in the Lord, in His goodness in the face of this act of, as President Trump said, “pure evil.”
To this end, God has given a word from The Word of God for this mass shooting, a response to all the emotions that humanity is feeling in these moments. First, I want to remind us to pray for the Las Vegas Massacre victims and injured. This event will impact us for years to come. Like 9/11, this event will not leave our hearts and minds as easily as many wish it would. We know that the Lord is righteous, the Lord is good, the Lord is holy, that the Lord does not condone acts of violence. Psalm 11:5 (NKJV) says that “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” We know that the Lord is not in favor of violence, that He didn’t approve of the annihilation of 6 million Jews when Hitler had them murdered, and we know the Lord didn’t approve of this senseless killing. Contrary to the atheist belief (and yes, it’s a belief; an interesting thought for atheism!), the Lord didn’t approve of this mass shooting.
Next, I want to invite you all to call your loved ones, whether near or far, and remind them that you love them. Even if you’ve had an argument or disagreement and wonder why God made them your relative, call them. Sure, you can text and IM them, but a phone call or video chat would do you and that relative some good. Spend some time with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while. In times like these, God wants us to hug our relatives and friends and pull them even closer in times when tragedies happen. It’s okay that this has affected you. Don’t feel as if you’re weaker than anyone else or can’t contain your emotions. We’re all human; regardless of all the labels and barriers that divide us, we’re all human. We all bleed red, we all have hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments, frustrations, and sadness in the face of tragedies.
Last but not least, we ask for your prayers as the Lord gives me a word to preach this Sunday to remember the victims of the Las Vegas Shooting. Please pray for me, as I preach the Word of the Lord. I, along with each of you, am hurting over this. Though I didn’t have one family member or friend present in Las Vegas at the shooting, I am grieving over this act and how it’s robbed families, marriages, and friendships, how it’s torn apart the hearts and minds of families and friends, how it’s impacted this country and the world. And even in this sad hour, God’s grace still shines bright: we can think of those who transported affected victims while being traumatized themselves to the hospital in Las Vegas, how some died while covering others to prevent the shooter from killing them, how many have donated at GoFundMe pages to raise money for the victims’ families. These are just a few acts of kindness that show us all that in the darkest hours, the Light still shines. The darkness, as deep as it may be, will never shut out The Light – that is, Jesus.
To all those impacted, to families and friends of the victims, to those who were there who were injured, and to those present that survived physically but are destroyed mentally in this hour, let me say that we here at The Essential Church love you and mourn with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time; above all, the Lord is with you, for He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), “And lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
We cannot explain why the perpetrator of this crime did what he did, but we can tell you that darkness will not extinguish the light. Sunday’s message is titled “The Goodness of God in the Face of Evil: Remembering Las Vegas.” Please commit to join us as we speak into the hearts and minds of our culture on a timely issue. Until then.
Pastor D.M. Richardson
The Essential Church
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