In the shadow of death…

“if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”  Psalm 11:3

January 2011: 6 killed, 11 injured,  Tucson, Arizona
October 2011: 8 killed, 1injured, Seal Beach, California
April 2012: 7 killed, 3 injured, Oakland, California
July 2012: 12 killed 58 injured, Aurora, Colorado
August 2012: 6 killed, 3 injured, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
September 2012: 6 killed, 2 injured, Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 2012: 3 killed, 4 injured, Brookfield, Wisconsin
December 2012: 27 killed, 1 injured, Newtown, Connecticut

Just 5 short months ago we witnessed the horrifying murders of 12 people, along with 58 injured in the Aurora Theater shootings.  We’ve been living in the “shadow of death” since that day, with a deep sense of grief, loss and anger.  People have drawn together.  Leaders across the city have been looking at ways to strengthen the fabric of our city.  Some good things have been happening…

Now we witness another horrifying and senseless tragedy.  A profound hopelessness and fear have gripped our country.

I keep wondering what would Jesus be saying?  Here are a few thoughts…

He always calls us to grieve with those who grieve.  We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Secondly, He wants us to see these problems as issues of the heart.  
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  Matthew 15:19
The law can bring a stopping point at some level.  But when there is no conscience and violent imaginations are fueled daily, people are ticking time bombs.

Thirdly, in the face of heart issues He calls us to pray and turn from our own sin.  
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Fourthly, God says “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21

This is probably the most encouraging to me because God does not ask us to stand still, nor to being preoccupied with ourselves- we can make a difference!

Watching the news tonight I was blown away by the story of Staff Sgt. Jordan Pritchard , who found his old US Marine Corps uniform. It was in the attic.  The shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut is a thousand miles away, but what happened hit him hard.  So this week, Sergeant Pritchard is standing guard at Gower Elementary School where his 2 daughters attend.  

He’s not getting paid.  He’s not even armed.  He’s a volunteer!  Pritchard said  “I’m doing this because we need hope man.  We need hope…  If you are able and capable of doing something you have the responsibility to act.”  

Parents walked their kids into school, many with tears in their eyes, blown away as they thanked Pritchard for making a difference.

What a powerful picture!  We are all capable of doing something.  And as followers of Jesus we can step out of our comfort zones and overcome evil with good.

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