This week there was a tragic school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. The news has been saturated with the story, and so many are looking to government to create laws to end such tragedies. This tragedy and so many others is not a gun problem; our nation has a heart problem. As a nation, we have removed God, prayer and the Ten Commandments from our schools and our courthouse squares. We have become a society that seeks answers in the secular world, and not in the Lord. We certainly aren’t the first nation to do so; the Israelites (among others) did it again and again. There is only one answer: to turn back to the Lord: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)
And the answer begins with all of us individually, and then collectively. The Lord is calling to us, His believers to return to Him, to make a deep-down commitment to change our hearts and our focus. “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing.” (Joel 2:13-14)
So how can we do this practically? We can show up. This weekend I had such an opportunity. I was one of the drivers for a weekend of high school boys (the weekend is for junior high and high school kids Revive Weekend in our church). I didn’t have a huge part; I was the driver. But I showed up to drive them for every event, to share His love, to pray for them, and show them that God uses others to show His love. I have stayed up much later than I normally do, I was “out of my element”, but I was faithful to show up knowing that the Lord was taking care of the rest. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:9-10)
I don’t know much about their home life, I only know that most of these young men are football players. This weekend their coach was their host home for Bible study. I will tell you that there was a marked difference in just 24 hours in their demeanor. The first couple of times I drove them, they didn’t talk much. But last night to and from the event, they talked pretty much non-stop. They came together as a group of young men seeking the Lord, learning to share His love with others outside of their group, and learning to trust each other for support. The Holy Spirit is working in their hearts.
So this morning in my quiet time with God, I got a new sense of a Scripture: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16) We are to stand in the gap, to allow His light to shine through us to the hurting people here on earth. When we show up, the Holy Spirit takes over; we just need to be willing to show up and love.
I have to wonder if someone had reached out to the young man (who shot and killed 17 people and injured many more) and shared the hope in the Lord with him, how the outcome could have been changed? That’s an answer we will never have. But I do know that everyone can do something. We can stand where the Holy Spirit directs us to stand; we can share His love just by letting others know that we see them, that they aren’t forgotten; we can share that there is a hope in the Lord, who can give a peace that surpasses all understanding. This is a dark world, and there is only one answer to the darkness: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must not stay in our comfortable worlds; we must show up for the Lord and let His light shine through us. People are hurting and need and want the light. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to show you where to stand. Let’s not become weary in doing good.