“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
I prefer to live in the bright, shiny places of this world. Days of beautiful sunsets, laughs with friends and endless pumpkin spice lattes. But today, it’s just not possible.
This morning my husband woke me to the news of another horrific tragedy, the Las Vegas shootings. Our nation is trying to process an unbelievably violent act that shook us to our cores. As we grieve deeply, we also question.
Why did God allow this tragedy to happen?
Truth is, I don’t know. As a society we are likely to focus on contributing factors. Was the shooter mentally ill? Were drugs or alcohol involved? Illegally obtained firearms? Each of these are important and must be explored. But the root is much deeper.
We must call it. This is a broken, sin-cursed world. And the act was satanic.
I remember when I was a little girl, my father protected me from a dangerous snake. It hissed and threatened to strike, but with one powerful ax swing he cut off the head. Its body thrashed for what seemed like forever. I ran crying, fearful it would come back to life.
Daddy put his arms around me, explaining it was a violent response to being killed. While it was reacting to its demise, its end was forever determined.
Reminding me of another serpent’s head which was struck the death blow long before by the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 3:15 recounts the root of spiritual warfare. God cursed the serpent for introducing sin to his creation. But he had the redemptive plan already in place. Christ the Messiah would come to break through the darkness of sin separating us from God.
We still do battle on this earth. But Jesus, through his shed blood to redeem us from sin, has won the eternal war.
It is why, in the darkest of days, we have hope. Hope revealed through Jesus. Hope which cannot be stolen or destroyed, despite the anger of the evil one and those who do his work.
Make no mistake: the massacre of our fellow Americans was a wicked lashing by satan. Yes, he still flails about violently to cause confusion, doubt, and destruction. But he is defeated. His destiny sealed.
Today there is immeasurable heartbreak and many questions, but we can be at peace knowing God has already answered.
I look forward to the days of no bad news. No sorrow or loss. Days of living in the bright, shiny presence of God. In the warmth and comfort of Heaven. But until our last breaths, we have the work of sharing the healing work of Christ with a world desperate for him.
(This post is updated from a previous one in response to the Sandy Hook school shootings).
Hi, my friends! Hope you have enjoyed a summer filled with sun, fun, and sweet memories. I’ve taken a few months away from writing, but with college football and all things pumpkin right around the corner, I’m ready to settle into (almost) fall and excited to blog again.
So, in the spirit of the obligatory “What I Did This Summer” first day of school writing assignment, I thought I’d write a report, too! The list is in no particular order, but then most of my life is like that so…
We are now these people.
Yep. That’s right. Jim and I are currently remodeling a home two houses down from us. Somehow we went from taking on a kitchen overhaul last winter to accelerating into Chip and Joanna Gaines wannabes in no time flat. Jim’s parents are moving to Pensacola in late fall, so we are tearing out, ripping down, and pulling up stuff and having a blast getting their new home ready. So, if you see me out shopping and I’m covered in paint or dry wall dust, just smile and give me a pass.
There’s this book I’m reading…
Embracing Obscurity was written in 2012 by a well known author who chose to publish without recognition. I’m only through the first few chapters but it’s having a big influence on my thinking ABOUT influence. I have a new perspective on the servanthood of Christ and will forever view Philippians 2 in a new light. It’s the unnoticed, the unrecognized works for Christ that truly reveal my character. It’s shaking and breaking up my world, people.
Surprise! Let’s go to the Keys for the weekend!
Normally I like to be part of the planning (translation: control issues), but I trust my husband. And he totally pulled it off! The best seafood (and those key lime pies!), stunning sunsets, and a gorgeous morning drive from Key Largo to Key West. It was the most relaxing time I’ve had in ages.
I revisited my past….
Twenty years ago this month…well, it was tough. I was in the middle of significant health issues and hospitalizations. But I had no idea of the healing, physically and spiritually, that was coming, and how the Lord was going to use it to move Jim and me to Pensacola. Two weeks ago I walked to this spot in my former neighborhood and looked at my beloved West Virginia hills. It was the perfect place to thank him for years of goodness and restoration.
…and spent time with the future.
Mentoring young women has taken my spiritual life to an unexpected level, but not because I am that awesome. They are. God is using this next generation to teach me much about simplicity, perspective, being on mission 24/7, and what it means to be a follower of Christ in changing times. A fresh vision about future ministry is stirring inside me. I don’t know all the details yet ~ I will just wait on God to put it all together. But I’m excited.
So that pretty much sums up my summer. Thanks again for stopping by Hearts Unfold today. While I may not know your name, I am praying for your growth and encouragement. Looking forward to reconnecting in this journey together for Christ.
Enjoy your day!