While all that chaos was taking place, several states southward, two police officers were shot while serving a drug-related search warrant - one of the officers killed in the wake of violence.
Immediately, my thoughts turn to the first responders who will now spend countless hours combing through the carnage. For many of them, the sights will forever stick into their memories, taunting them the rest of their lives. Screams and crying - death and dying. Where is their peace?
Then there are the families. Hours ago, the biggest concern was making sure tummies were fed and teeth brushed. Busy moms and dads hustling kids from home to school - Christmas parties and family gatherings to attend in the coming days. Now, each left to cope with an unfathomable loss. Presents bought for children who won't be coming home. Lives destroyed in an instant. Where is their peace?
Finally, we remember the children. Those who survived the attack in the classroom, and those who've been left behind by a parent taken way before their time. From this moment forward their little memories will be scarred with the emotional trauma they can't quite wrap their still-developing minds around. Isn't school supposed to be a safe place? Aren't mommies and daddies supposed to come home?
Suddenly and without warning, they are forced into an adult world, one filled with hatred and violence. Where is their peace?
Some 2,000 years ago, our peace was born in a stable. There was no fanfare or media hype, just a rag-tag band of shepherds and a few stinky animals.
He was given the name, Jesus, and lovingly laid in a manger. Years later, however, He would be whipped, beaten, spit upon and nailed to a tree. Why? Because of His great love for a dying world.
Those who crucified Him, did so out of hate. Thinking they could forever silence this "King of the Jews," they mocked Him and maimed Him. Yet, because of God's great love, Jesus shed His blood so that others could live. He died. Hell's demons laughed with glee, and behind the scenes all hope seemed lost.
Yet...on the third day, He rose from the grave and defeated death! No longer would man be in bondage to sin. A way had been paved to eternal peace with God!
Today, those who believe and accept His sacrificial, life-giving gift, those blessed ones are given a promise: to know true peace even in the midst of chaos. Jesus reminds us in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
To those who hardened their hearts to His truth, they are promised eternal separation from God. Where God is absent, destruction, hatred, fear, and unrest is in full throttle.
In light of today's tragic events, clearly, a few have chosen their paths and have affected many lives in the midst of their decisions. Yet, if we will hold on to hope, God will come out victorious!
The Bible says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20, and "He will be their peace." Micah 5:5
As we gather during this time of tragedy in our nation, let us embrace God and His promises, for He is here with us...and, He is our peace!
Earlier in the week I ran a book give-away and mentioned that I would announce the winners today. To the three of you who commented...each of you will get a book and cards. Thank you for sharing Jesus to those around you. I pray that even more so now, you will stand courageously and offer the hope to others that only He can bring. God bless you! (Please email me and let me know addresses or where I can meet up with you. firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks!! :)