I was telling my mother in law last night, that I hadn’t watched much about the school shooting in Florida yesterday. With three small children all in elementary school together, I have to give myself a bit of space, especially as news is unfolding, when it comes to events like this. My anxiety goes through the roof and I simply cannot let my mind go to those places.
But as I was thinking about it later, yes, I temporarily need to do what’s best for my mental health. But is it really the most responsible long-term approach? To just check out if these current events don’t affect my life directly? An entire school district’s worth of families can’t just turn the channel or put their mind on something else for the evening. We ALL have to live in this world, and we ALL have to experience these tragedies together, and we can’t just turn the other cheek when things get too uncomfortable for us.
So I’m going to watch the news, I’m going to cry my eyes out, and I’m going to imagine that this is happening to me. Happening to us. Happening to my family and my community, and empathize with the families that are mentally, emotionally, and physically trudging through this tragedy. And I’m not going to pretend that it couldn’t happen here. It can happen absolutely anywhere. I think that’s why it’s so easy to close our browser windows and disassociate. We think, “oh, that won’t happen here in Everytown, USA. But I bet that’s what the folks in Littleton, Colorado thought. Same thing the families in Newtown, Connecticut thought before their elementary school was victimized. And I bet it’s the exact same thing they were thinking in Parkland, Florida this morning. The fact is that these senseless tragedies can happen absolutely ANYWHERE. We have to recognize that.
I’m also not going to pretend that this isn’t a political issue. A mental health issue. A family issue, a gun control issue, a social issue, an AMERICAN issue. And I’m also not going to pretend that it’s not a JESUS ISSUE.
Because our children need our prayers. They need to know Jesus. Our teachers need our prayers. Our schools, administrators, our neighborhoods, friends, districts, communities, states, leaders, and our COUNTRY need our prayers! Our PEOPLE and even (especially??) our ENEMIES need our prayers and need to know that our God is LOVE and that THAT is the answer. Not hate, not judgment, and not violence. LOVE. And it does no good to turn a blind eye or keep my eyes closed to the tragedies of our world unless I am closing my eyes, bowing my head, and on my knees in prayer for our society.
So, join me? Pray for our children and their schools. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Florida as they need us in their time of grief in the days ahead. Instead of turning away in fear, turn to GOD in LOVE and TRUST. We can beat this evil that manifests itself in this world. But we simply cannot do it, and will never do it, without HIM.