I woke up at 4:30am today. I made coffee. Grabbed my bag. Read Acts 5-7 in my van. Opened up my uber app and picked up a couple heading to LAX. On the way there I was informed of the tragedy that had struck Las Vegas. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, seeing, and hearing. I didn’t know how to respond, and as traffic got heavy at the 405/110 intersection, I began to wonder if today would be my last day here on earth.
It is that quick. It is that sudden. In the blink of an eye, you can be face to face with your destiny. You can go from singing along with your favorite artist, to eternal silence. We can go from being surrounded by our closest friends, enjoying a special moment with a special soundtrack, to a place of solitude where there is no singing and the silence is deafening.
As I arrived to my classroom, it only took one period to be asked, “If God loves us, why does He allow us to experience such heartache?”. By my third class, I was emotionally exhausted, yet my soul had the energy to share the answer a million times over. My seventh period came around, and one of my students who is normally the first out the door, was a little slow in putting his things together. He walks up to my desk, and I could see it, that look of defeat, sorrow, pain, and genuine heartache. My soul gathered strength and proceeded to regurgitate the only hopeful message he needed to hear.
In hindsight, it is no coincidence that today my 11th graders and I began our venture through the Doctrine of the Trinity. As I began to look at this mystery, I found Augustine’s point of view of the Triune Nature of God to be rather fascinating. He concluded that if God was not a Triune God, He would be imperfect. If the Son & the Spirit didn’t exist in the formula of Creation, everything that was created would be created selfishly and separate from the story of love. If Jesus wasn’t the lens through which everything was created, there wouldn’t be a need for a Son, a Cross, or a Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgement. In fact, if Love wasn’t the motive through which God exhibited his creativity, the fall would have been a great excuse to start over.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
The pursuit of man didn’t end at disobedience, it was that foreknown action through which God created us in the first place. Think about that for a second . . . a little more . . . He created us perfectly knowing that we would be imperfect. It was when our perfection was compromised, that we find God wanting to go deeper instead of looking for an exit. We find him pursuing humanity instead of starting all over. We see Him stepping into our shame instead of retreating from it. When we sowed a covering for ourselves in shame, he doesn’t just proclaim it as insufficient, he provides a better sacrifice.
Las Vegas, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we have seen you as Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m sorry that we call you by your sin, and don’t see the potential that you have. I’m sorry that 58 families are forever changed because Stephen Paddock saw life through the lens of his scope and not through the lens of Jesus. I’m sorry that our churches have over-valued foreign mission while neglecting our neighbors across a state-line. Im sorry that it took this long and this grave of an incident to mourn over your sin and your people. I’m sorry that we haven’t cared, so we haven’t prayed.
I commit to praying for you. That God would raise up laborers. That His love for you would be lived out in the way people care for you in this time of need. That His Love for you would be ever so present through the comfort of the Holy Spirit. That His Love for you would open the eyes of the blind, heal the broken hearted, and revalue the lives of those poor in spirit. That God would respond to your greatest need with the greatest love you’ve ever known. We stand with you. We are cheering you on. You are able to overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of your testimony.
Your Brothers & Sisters.
I gave this message the Sunday before the Las Vegas shooting. It was supposed to focus on the Mission of Christ, but I think it could give you a greater insight of where I am coming from. I hope it blesses you.