And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? ~~ Genesis 14: 16 (KJV)
The local news tonight is full of a man who went on a rampage in a small community in south central Kansas, shooting people at his place of employment. Incidents of this kind leave us shaking our heads and wondering what happened to cause this. And we wonder if God sees and cares.
The scripture above relates to Hagar. If you don’t remember her story, read Genesis 14 and 16. She was mistreated and ran away from her mistress. The story is a testament to how we mess things up when we don’t wait on God’s timing. But I digress.
The answer to our question above is yes, God sees. And yes, He cares. God loves each of the victims of this terrible incident.
Because there were multiple fatalities as well as more than a dozen injured, there are many households in extreme distress and grief. God is also grieved.
God is grieved because He loves us – all of us. He loves each of the victims and every member of their families. But He also loves the shooter.
If you are a parent, you know how distressed you are when your child misbehaves. Your distress escalates as your child’s misbehavior becomes more serious. Imagine if the shooter were your child. How would you feel? Those emotions are not foreign to God. Because His love is infinite, His grief may be just as infinite.
Imagine that your child left home and did not communicate with you again. Ever. Years pass, and this child’s place is empty. Eventually, you no longer know if the child is alive or dead. He or she has simply evaporated from your life. What kind of hole does that leave in your heart?
When people turn their backs on God and denigrate the gift of salvation bought with the blood of Christ, God is grieved. John 3:16 says “God so loved the world…” It doesn’t say God loved everyone in the world who loved Him. It says the world – no exceptions. That includes those who have turned their backs on Him and create havoc in the lives of others.
God will hold and help and console the victims of tragedy and all the family members involved. If He can see a fleeing handmaiden in the desert, He can see people at work. He never leaves, never changes, never quits loving.
When we say He loves, we do not say He condones wrong behavior. He does not condone. Nor does He mitigate the natural consequences of our behavior.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: ~~ Hosea 8:7a (KJV)
We live today with the consequences of Sarah’s jumping the gun on God. And we will live with the consequences of this shooter’s choices. There is no circumstance so dire or heinous that God cannot use for good.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~~ Romans 8:28 (KJV)
We may never know this side of Eternity what good came from an incident like this one. But God will use this. Perhaps someone who was ignoring God will come to Him.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. ~~ Luke 15:7 (KJV)
These are the words of Jesus. They remind us that God loves sinners. Good news for all of us because we are all sinners.
We ask your presence with all who were touched by this tragedy. Teach us Your love and give us hearts to grow closer to you. Help us to replicate Your love in this sinful world.
In Jesus’ most precious name,