Once again, I hear of a broken life gone wrong - a shooter taking his pain out on a small Oregon community college filled with innocent students. Lives now tragically ended, grief-stricken friends and family members left to wonder what could've been. Oh what hurt we all inflict on each other in this fallen world! I ponder the simple yet hard truth that human nature unredeemed resists and fights all that is good. Fights all that speaks of God. It does not value what He has given…including the gift of life itself. It thinks only of itself!! When our first parents bought into the lie that He wasn't good, that He wasn't enough, they forever plunged humanity into a sorry and chaotic state of affairs. An on-going war of wills between the fallen and redeemed. Between the old self and what can be made new. Tragedies such as these remind us all of what we would be like in this world without the hope of Grace. Without God. Each would be out for their own interest. Each would govern their own life with no thought for others. We would live as sad and hopeless individuals who have no future. No chance at renewal.
But God…oh blessed words these are. But God has done what He had no obligation to do. He has offered a way of hope. He has been working out His plan to redeem ever since the first fall, and He even went so far as to send His Son to die for the unloveable. To save those who are unable to save themselves. God knows we need Him. He has no need of us but He chooses to use us in spite of our immense failures. No person is beyond His reach or ability to rescue. To redeem. To renew.
Without such love, without such grace, without such hope, there is no reason to live. To value. To be thankful. Life is expendable. Life has no worth or meaning. All is lost. Perhaps such is the case with people who go into buildings and kill the innocent. Perhaps such is the case with those who take their own lives too. They have never felt His love. Never known His peace. Never tasted the beautiful reality that, even in the midst of great pain and suffering, He is still good.
I bow my head, and I pray. I speak my compassion for those who walk this lonely and hard road. I ask that they begin to see God. I ask that they find themselves at the end of themselves so that they may discover the beginning of Him. I ask Him, Who is the only hope, to show forth His goodness and make something beautiful out of the brokenness. Because I know that He can. I know that He will…no matter what happens in this crazy world gone bad. Someday, when I see Him in Heaven, I will discover how many times He really has fulfilled His redemptive promise for humanity - how many people are with Him for eternity because He completed a saving work in them. Because He never gave up pursuing them. Because He loved them enough to offer Himself for them. Is this not a blessed truth to hold onto: that my God welcomes liars, cheats, thieves, murderers, outcasts, strangers, and all of the losers that the world has given up on?! One can even be behind bars and yet still be unchained. My Savior is forever good. He will continue to bring hardened hearts to Himself - even in the midst of the greatest wounds humanity inflicts on one another.