I have tried several times since Sunday to write an article expressing my thoughts about the tragic shooting in the Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning. But I just can’t seem to say anything that I think would be helpful or profound. My mind was immediately drawn to Ecclesiastes 7:2, where the Wisdom teacher tells us that value of the “house of mourning” is that the living would “lay it to heart.” Perhaps rather than lengthy responses we all ought to have such a response-to lay it to heart. As I thus ponder, here are some brief emotive thoughts though not very profound, they are what is running through my mind in the house of mourning.
I am mourning with the family of the victims. Death is always vicious and cruel, but death in such a cruel and vicious way will leave scars that will never go away in these family members. I am deeply sorry that many parents will never have coffee on a Saturday morning with their children, open birthday gifts with their siblings, or hug one another. Death is never our ally, it is called an enemy in the Scripture, regardless of who it touches. Mourn with those mourn, Christian.
I am reminded that the Gospel is the only thing that will replace rage with love. The love of God caused him to send Christ to take his wrath in the place of sinners, so that rage may be conquered in our hearts and loving God and loving our neighbor may replace wrath. Pray for the families of these victims, not just that they will be comforted, but that they will be transformed by the grace of God in the Gospel. Pray for our Muslim neighbors, especially those radicalized in their ideology that they would believe this Gospel which will transform their rage into love as it has done for me.
I am convicted to consider my own life and death. That often quoted line is still true, “Only one life, twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Those souls who went to that nightclub Saturday did not plan to enter eternity Sunday morning. I do not plan to die today, but it is quite possible I will, am I living today for that which will bring Christ great glory and me great joy at the judgment? It would be a great tragedy if we watched the news and used a word like “them” to describe these events instead of considering our own life and our eventual death.
I am hoping in the Judge of the whole earth. The Christian faith based upon the Christian Bible reveals to us that the suffering of this life is not all that there is. And it causes my heart to both hope in God while soberly increasing evangelistic zeal. To the unbeliever, this life is the best heaven they will ever experience; but to the Christian, this life is the worst hell we will ever experience. I urge my fellow-humans, whether you identify as gay or straight, liberal or conservative, Muslim or “Christian,” to run to Jesus Christ in humility. Trust in Christ alone as your only hope of righteousness and trust that he will judge you according to his own imputed righteousness and not your sinfulness. These tragedies will then give you lasting hope that He alone will make all things right and new, and you may long for that day along with me.