Today, we’re starting to get to know everyone a little better. The pictures, videos, and testimonies are starting to make the rounds, and just who and what has been lost is beginning to sink in.
And the pain is still there.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who grieve today over the loss of friends and family shot Wednesday night at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The gunman opened fire after attending a prayer meeting for an hour. “The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told reporters.
This was indeed a hateful act, and evidence that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It’s also evidence of our need for Christ, who has given us the power to overcome the world by our faith in Him (1 John 5:4-5). He tells us in His Word that, for those who know Him, someday “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Revelation 21:4). On difficult days like today, this is our hope.
But for those who do not know Christ, there is no such promise. Dr. Stanley explains in his message, “Responding to Tragedy,” that it is “foolish to try to live life in this fallen world without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is always there to help us, no matter what we’re going through.” (You can learn more about having a personal relationship with Jesus here.)
We pray that the God of all comfort would ease the pain of those who are grieving, that He would bring the gunman to justice, and that the community would find peace and healing through Christ. As Dr. Stanley has said, “God can comfort anybody, anywhere, under any condition, if they’re one of His children… [He] is the true comforter, the one who surrounds us with a love that is beyond our understanding.”
Even now, communities are coming together in solidarity, supporting one another in love. Perhaps, in time, we will all one day be able to say with Paul, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5).
Dr. Stanley talks about what we should do when terrible things happen to us in his message, “Responding to Tragedy.”