Hope for a Dazed Community

In the wake of a traumatic event in a community, people respond in various ways. Some have their eloquent voice ignited, and they are able to deliver a profound message to those who need it. Some remain introspective, processing the event and forming their thoughts quietly. Some have hope. Some have only anger and fear. Yet in all, no matter how – or if — it is masked, visceral emotion lurks about and threatens to rend our very being in two. What are we to do? 

I don’t think there is a right answer for every person. I wish that were so; life these past few days would have been a lot easier if there was a “cure-all” for our rage and despondency. Some might say, “Well, Jesus is our cure-all.” This is true. However, the best way to seek his healing will not look the same for every individual.

I am of the introspective type. I haven’t talked much about MPHS. Yet I have cried. A lot. Members of my church family attend this high school. Some even knew the shooter and the victims. This event has struck closer to home than, say, SPU or the Clackamas shooting in Oregon. I am a compassionate person, and all these tragedies were horrifying. But this one drove me to a different place. It drove me to my knees. It drove me to the bitter tears of an intercessor. I imagine they were reminiscent to the tears of Jeremiah, who wept for his nation, for his people. Though I have never attended Marysville Pilchuck, I count the students there as my people. And seeing them grieved breaks my heart.

I haven’t spoken on any of my platforms because I wanted the timing to be right. The right thing said at the wrong time is wrong nonetheless. I felt it best to let people alone. There has already been enough noise surrounding their situation. But now I feel it’s time for me to speak in the best way I know: through Scripture. The best words have already been said. I have recorded some verses below with a brief thought on how it applies to the Marysville Pilchuck shooting.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 – “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after the wind” (ESV).

My thought: We may never know why this tragedy happened. It’s natural for us to seek answers when life throws its crap at our faces. However, there are things that will only bring us more hurt and frustration if we try by our own strength to find them. When we are faced with death, we very rarely have any answers. Unfortunately, we might not ever get them. But if we wait on the Lord in quietness, he will minister to us in a deeper way than any “answer” could.

Romans 12:9 – “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Love what is good” (NIV).

My thought: In the case of a shooting, evil becomes so painfully obvious that it is very easy to hate it. I am not saying the shooter was evil, but the shedding of innocent blood is. However, it is crucial that we turn our focus to the goodness of God to redeem us while we are still broken. Also, use this tragedy as a reminder to sincerely love those around you. Life is short. No one around you should die without the knowledge that they are loved deeply and truly.

Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (NIV).

My thought: No one should seek out grief, and no one should relish in it. However, we shouldn’t be afraid to mourn. If you feel obliged to “keep it together” for whatever reason, I will tell you this: just don’t. There is no shame in mourning, and God has sent his Spirit to be our comfort when the world weighs you down with despair. You can emerge from grief, and, with God’s help, you can emerge as an even stronger person.

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