How the Las Vegas Tragedy Affects Me

Dear God, our hearts are wondering. They are wondering ‘why’? Why could this happen? How could You let it happen? You are Sovereign. You could’ve stopped it. And yet, through it all, we know that You. Are. Sovereign. That means so much more than just all powerful. Father, that means that through it all, you have an all-knowing mind, and even above that, you have an all-wise plan. Today doesn’t even seem real. It seems like something like this should only happen in the movies. I mean, 50+ people killed and 500+ wounded and many probably fighting for their life. But, as much as this saddens and shocks us, I can’t imagine how much more it saddens and shocks You. It doesn’t shock You with surprise like it does us. Nothing takes You by surprise. Rather, it shocks and saddens You because of all the effort and love you have put into creating each and every life. You created with love, formed every inch of those 550 victims. More than that, you even formed with caring love, the one who decided to make the sad decision to harm these innocent people. Jesus, I believe You are saddened and shocked, not by the surprise of the unknown, but because of how Your love got thrown back in Your face. How, when it seemed as if this world couldn’t get more wicked than it is, this happens. Father, we’ve all been betrayed by people, and it hurts, but never have we poured that much love into someone’s life, only to have it rejected so harshly.

The reactions of people will be mixed, but I wonder if they will even think of You. People will wonder how a God who claims to love, who claims to be merciful, how He can even allow it to happen. I don’t profess to even begin to understand how big and huge your character is, and why You allow this or that to happen, but I do know this…..In this tragedy in Las Vegas, You are there. In the middle of the devastation with the hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding in the many different places,

You. Are. There.

If people truly seek You, they will find You. They will find You in the hospital room, through the Dr.’s sympathetic and caring touch. They will find You present with the efficient capabilities of the medics and emergency personnel, never knowing the whispered prayers that are breathed over them. They will find You in the middle of the night, when it seems all they can do  is sob with pain–there is where they’ll find You. They will find You while being lifted up in prayer by the whole family of God. They will find You while in the middle of the turmoil inside their hearts, while working at their seemingly endless job, when they will feel that they just can’t do this one more day, but silently, You are giving them strength.

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They can see You with each new sunrise and sunset You give them. They can feel Your presence in the soft breezes that blow. They can find You in the center of a flower–where else could that intense beauty lead them? Their nurse on duty, that quiet, almost ‘too shy’ one…Do they realize that this morning’s Bible study with fellow Christian nurses is making her pause for only a second before she timidly asks, “Do you know my Jesus?” The hurting and confused children, the fatherless and motherless. You are there in the ones holding them close, cuddling them, hoping they can give these little ones just a tiny feeling of safety.

God, You are there.

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But, You are also here, with us, the ones who are supposedly ‘unaffected’ by these tragedies. We feel slightly sheltered and safe, and yet our heart aches for those who are ‘out there’. That ache is You speaking to us. The tears that come to our eyes when hearing of the devastation, that’s You, reminding us to pray. That lump in our throat is just a way to shut our mouths from all the cliche sayings, and instead take the time to whisper a prayer to our heavenly Father. You are also here in our freedom to come and go. That freedom is a gift from You to us, to allow us to share Your Good News. When day in and day out, I reject that gift or use it all selfishly for myself, I wonder if that’s just as much shock and sadness to You as the tragedy of Las Vegas. You are here with us, in the middle of our everyday life, waiting, watching with eagerness to see how soon we’ll see You revealing Yourself to us, and when we don’t take notice, I’m wonder if that rejection is just like being thrown in Your face as well.

Father, I wonder how the nation of the U.S. would become if we could all just open our eyes to You. I wonder, if we could actually, truly recognize You in all the places You are, how would that make a difference in our nation?

Jesus, I know I can’t change the nation–only You can do that, BUT I can allow You to change me, and then maybe the change in me will light a spark in someone else’s life. Also, I can pray. We forget the power of prayer, but prayer has such a healing benefit, and our nation is so broken, in desperate need of the healing only You can give.

Help our nation to willingly open our eyes to be able to see You wherever You are. Open our hearts to the change that only You can give.

God, please heal this land!!

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Big Happenings in a Small-Town

You remember last post, I mentioned nothing exciting ever happens to me. Well today, that was a little bit of a lie (or rather a lot of a lie 🙂 ) Read on for the full story (facts will be as best as I can remember from having such an adrenaline rush, but may have some of my slightly dramatic/exaggerating flair to it….hmmmm 🙂 )

It’s not every day you get held at gun-point and patted down by the police. While leaving one of my jobs and on my way to the other, I was driving (quite rapidly, like usual, so I’m not late, leaning down and changing my socks as I drive out the long lane). I noticed a mass of police cars and thought about how I had seen one pulled over when I got there……at which time it seemed just like a routine traffic stop. But then I realized they seem to be pretty excited to see me…..several coming close to the beginning of the driveway and waving/motioning to me, while others are lining up and keep coming. They didn’t seem to stop coming and lining up! I slowed down/stop and in my adrenaline-infused body, I remembered to open my window to seem as less of a threat. Soon, I heard them shouting at me, something that I can’t understand. I remember feeling some of the warning signs that something’s about to happen to my body (the passing out, etc.) and thinking that ‘oh, shoot, here I go!’ and realizing there’s nothing I can do about it, and they’ll just have to take care of me…Needless to say, I think I calmed myself down by assuring myself I didn’t do anything wrong, and I ask them what their shouted command had been. (miraculously the symptoms kinda stopped…..Thank-you Jesus, and it just kinda re-affirms to me that the symptoms I’ve been having have to do with heart/adrenaline/blood pressure issues) They repeated to, “Put your hands in the air, get out of the car and walk slowly towards us.” By this time, I had one sock and shoe off so I quickly grabbed the shoe and put it on, and began walking, while thinking to myself, “I hope no one sees me that I know. What are all those cars lined up thinking about this Mennonite woman walking towards the police?” 🙂 (Yes, my mind wonders funny things sometimes) Sometime on my way over, my mind realized they were pointing a gun at me, but I knew if I cooperated and did just as they said, I shouldn’t have a problem. I got to the group of roughly 5-7 policemen, and one asked me to step over there, asked if I had any weapons on me…(hmmm, nope!) He put his gun away, and asked if he could pat me down. I knew I had nothing to hide, so I told him ‘sure.’ He told me to put my hands behind my back, while assuring me, I was not under arrest, and he would explain in a minute. (By this time, I almost felt like bursting into tears, and the thought had crossed my mind to ask what was going on…..my emotions were oh, so wild) So after a quick assurance to make sure I was unarmed, I was told that there is an escaped felon on the run, last seen running in the field right beside where I worked, and wondered if I had seen any suspicious activity. I was told his name, shown a picture, and asked if I had seen anyone lurking around, or anything out of the ordinary. I told them different times that “no, I was there to do work. I’m kinda secluded from everything that happens and I don’t see or hear a whole lot that goes on.” I was asked questions, and they had my full cooperation, because I had a job to get to, AND I really wanted to know all of what was going on. “Who owns the house back there?” “Can you give us a layout of the buildings, etc.?” “Is there anyone in the car with you?” (No, not that I know of) “Do you mind if we check?” (No, it would make me feel better if you did…as thoughts raced about how he could be hiding in my trunk unknown to me.) “Does the owner of the house own alot of firearms?” (ummm, I don’t really know. What do you consider alot?) “Is there anyone else in the house or on the property?” (No, not that I know of) So, I waited, they asked more questions, I waited some more, I was assured this was not meant to scare me, (I’m pretty sure my adrenaline was still high at this point), I watched as they searched my vehicle, all the while trying to be on my best behavior so they would trust me and let me leave, so I could go to work. At one point, I looked down, and then realized/remembered I have one shoe with a sock, and one shoe without a sock, that’s how crazy this morning was! One unit came with a dog, and they just kept watching the house/property. (It was kinda cool hearing something about the vehicle coming out of the driveway is clear…knowing they were talking about me 🙂 ) After giving them all the information they needed, I shook one’s hand, said ‘thank-you’ to them and after changing my shoes and socks back to the normal way they should’ve been, I left, knowing that if I’d be late to work, I’d REALLY have a valid excuse!! 🙂

After I calmed down a little more, I began thinking about how this could’ve been much worse. My emotions were high, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make me cry….yes, for no reason. I was by myself, back in a secluded area. He could’ve been watching me, with all the places to hide around there, and I would not know it. He could’ve crawled in my car, or been watching me leave. I’m thankful today, for God’s protection, and his watch and care over His children.

I also am thankful for the ones on duty today. While it terrified me at first, they were first of all concerned about doing their job. When an unidentified vehicle came out of the driveway (me), they were on it, and they were watching, ready to take action. They were professional and to the point, making me feel safe and secure, and assuring me they didn’t mean to scare me. Men in blue risk so much each day, never knowing what they’ll get into on their next shift, yet I want you to know, they passed the test with flying colors today. Our little town is not meant to have crime and runaway felons, it’s meant to be safe, and so we thank them for all their hard work today.

Policemen, EMTs, paramedics, fire-fighters, nurses, doctors…..all emergency workers….These are the un-sung heroes of our day. It’s never a place I’d want to put myself in, and yet, I’m so glad someone enjoys it and takes the challenge. Take a moment and say ‘thank-you’ the next time you see one of them. I assure you, it will NOT be rejected!