This week another senseless shooting happened in Gilroy, California. While shootings at large events grab our attention, the truth is that there are lesser known shootings happening somewhere in our country on an almost daily basis.
What makes this shooting, and others like it, so disturbing is the apparent randomness of the shooter.
Reports came out of the festival that, while he was shooting, someone yelled, “Why are you doing this?” The reply they heard was, “Because I’m really angry.”
But thanks to quick thinking of police officers on scene, they quickly engaged the shooter and lives were saved. While the gunman was hit by police fire, the medical examiner found that the shooter turned his own gun on himself as well, ending it all.
What makes these large event shootings particularly sad is that what is supposed to be a community event becomes a community tragedy. Now, five days later, the investigators are still sifting through the information looking for a motive.
One of the reasons we want to know the why is so we can bring some kind of closure or solution to this kind of tragedy. But, in many cases, we may never know why and are only left with questions.
Jesus wasn’t a stranger to senseless violence. At a time in history when his country was occupied by a foreign power—and the night before he went to the cross—he said this to his followers:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus is saying that in the unexplainable tragedies of life (the many trials and sorrows we experience), “…take heart” because, as he said, “I have overcome the world.” In other words, death is not the end. Ultimately God’s purposes will prevail and evil will not have the final word. There is more to this life than this life.
If the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, teaches us anything it is that while situations around us may be heart breaking , there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is a beautiful, renewed world. A place where evil and despair will never have a place.
It appears that this shooter was angry enough to despair and end his young life. While some may despair and give in to hopelessness, Jesus’ followers have the answer to despair: it is Jesus himself. I often wonder what would have happened if a youth pastor had connected with some of these young shooters? What a difference it would make if they were able to see beyond themselves and understand that they were created for something more—much more.
We are brokers of hope.
While tragedy may cross your path, take heart—Jesus has overcome this world. Death isn’t the end, and this life is only a dress rehearsal for the next.
So, while despair may have a grip on some, each of us can be a broker of hope.
No one can turn back the clock on these shootings. But as followers of Christ, we have the opportunity to bring comfort and hope into a bleak situation: by comforting those who are grieving; to truly sharing in their loss; by weeping with those who weep. And, in so doing, point people to Jesus. This life is not the end. There is more to come.
Don’t miss your opportunity to bring hope to those you know—even in the face of senseless tragedy. We are brokers of hope.