This mass shooter stuff is so terrible to comprehend. How can we make sense of it?
The sermon on October 8, 2017 will address this issue, and I encourage you to view it or listen to it when you can.
When I think about making sense of some terrible thing I kind of organize that “making sense” into four levels:
LEVEL ONE: Do I understand the facts? So often I jump to conclusions or come to the wrong conclusion because I don’t yet have enough facts. I must force myself to wait. That’s hard. But waiting is a necessary part of making sense out of senselessness.
LEVEL TWO: Do I clearly see how the situation developed? We are only a week into trying to figure out the WHY of this mass shooting. We want to know “what in the world was going on in this person’s head that caused him to desire to harm so many?” There is a futility to this, because even if we knew the details of ‘why’ the reasoning is so depraved that it’s nearly unbearable to comprehend. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
LEVEL THREE: Do I understand how it relates to God’s purpose? Now, here’s where it get’s difficult. Let’s say I know the facts, and also understand how the tragedy developed and unfolded. But, how does this fit into God’s vision and purpose for mankind … or, to put it in an all-too-familiar phrase “why did this happen to me?” For most of us the Las Vegas mass shooting is a far away thing. We can maintain some level of emotional detachment that allows us to return to our normal life. Understanding and knowing how God’s purpose can be experienced even “in the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) is no easy task with less easy answers.
LEVEL FOUR: Can I explain what God thinks about it? It’s easy to quote John 11:35 here, “Jesus wept.” But, we cry out for more don’t we? I do. Come on God, let me in on all of this! I want to know what you think about it, because I’m being asked to explain it. Here’s what I think God may be saying to me, “Alan, you live in a broken world with broken people. Help me put things back together.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, “… And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” Let’s be a part of God’s plan to glue things back together with His message of Hope.
— Alan Wilder