How do we react when 49 people are brutally murdered? How do we react when yet another terrorist commits a heinous act in our backyard? What do we do? What do we say?
Our God is a God familiar with suffering. He suffered when His creation rebelled against Him. He suffered as Israel followed after false gods, and He suffered most of all in our place at Calvary. And by His grace, He’s given us His Word on how we can deal with suffering and evil and pain as a Christian. I want us to see just a few verses that encourage us and instruct us in these times.
“Weep with those who weep.”–Romans 12:15
We are to weep. Jesus wept. He wept over death, over sin, and over the fallen state of His world. We, likewise, before we post on Facebook about how bad Muslim terrorists are, or how we need (or don’t need) more gun control, etc., ought to weep for the loss of life in Orlando. We ought to weep that evil exists, that death is a reality, and that there are mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters that have lost a family member. There are friends and loved ones who won’t see someone again, at least not here. And this is a tragedy. We do not need to rush into encouragement…we need time to grieve, and we need to allow others to grieve.
But, grief does not have the final word. Suffering does not have the final word. Death does not have the final word. Hope does. We weep in hope that the true King is returning to make all things right again. We weep in the hope of the gospel that those who place their faith in Him will be with God forever, and we will live in a kingdom, as Dr. Russell Moore said this week, where “bullets do not fly.”
So weep with the hurting. Let them grieve. And point them to Jesus.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”–2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Comfort those who are hurting. As we weep with them, we take care of practical needs. To believers in Orlando: Don’t miss this opportunity. In the wake of tragedy, God has given you a great opportunity to comfort the hurting and afflicted. This is bigger than anything going on in your life right now…God has turned evil into an opportunity for good. Take that opportunity.
To believers elsewhere: May we use this opportunity to speak about the love of Christ, that comforts all who run to Him. We comfort others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” That is, we comfort with the gospel, with the good news that Christ comes to be with and save sinners.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”–Revelation 21:3-4
The world will not stay this way. Evil will not reign forever, Jesus will. Death will not reign forever, Jesus will. Sin and suffering will not reign forever, Jesus will.
So as we weep, as we mourn, as we seek to minister to the hurting, let’s remember and hope in the kingdom that is to come, even as we seek to change the world right now. Let’s pray for the return of Christ, and seek to share the gospel with everyone until He comes to make all things new.
Lord, may you comfort those who are hurting. May you surround them with your love and your grace and your presence. May we as your people be faithful to show love and share the gospel. May we show compassion to those who desperately need it. May you come back soon to make all things new.