I drove home through thick fog last night and I realized it was a picture of how my heart and soul and mind had been feeling this week.
You see, the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church massacre happened only five days ago. And I haven’t been able to get it off my mind.
#1. The people of Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church are MY people. They are OUR people.
I’ve spent my profession serving churches like this sweet one. Churches that matter in their communities. Churches that matter to God.
And since I awoke from a Sunday afternoon nap to this nightmare, I have continued to cry out for God to pour out His grace and mercy to this church and community.
Our people have been attacked–the people who show up for hurting children and families in Sutherland Springs. The people who celebrate life’s milestones with their neighbors. The people who have demonstrated the truth and hope of the gospel even as bullets rained down on them. The people who trusted in and worshipped an all-powerful and loving God.
And He is all-powerful and loving–regardless of what an evil man rained down on these innocents. Nothing that happened on that Sunday morning in Texas changes who God is.
#2. The people of Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church FEEL like my people.
I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma with only two churches in town. And it was the First Baptist Church that I attended when I did.
When I imagine the terror for these sweet people, I see those people from my country church. Elderly Alma and Lela leading worship. Thirteen-year-old Tina playing the one piano. The impromptu choir that is beckoned every Sunday to “come on up.” Young families with squirmy children. And Brother House faithfully preaching a sermon.
It is these people I imagine enduring their last moments in the house of God, terrorized.
When I heard about the brave neighbors (like sheepdogs) coming to the aid of this flock of sheep being attacked by a ravenous wolf, I imagine the houses around my little country church.
These people ARE our people.
This could’ve happened in our home church. It could’ve happened in the churches we grew up in. It could’ve happened anywhere.
And it is happening.
That’s why I felt like the thick fog that enabled me to barely see in front of my car best captured how I feel these days. I’m sure the fog will lift. But I don’t believe the threats will disappear.
And I’m sure that even in the fog, that my God–all-powerful and all loving–is present with us.
I’ve read a lot of great posts that have helped me with perspective about suffering in this world, about the reality of a very evil one in the world, about mental illness, about the issue of gun control, and so much more.
The words that helped my heart the most–and what I’m hanging onto in the fog–is a poem that Jesse T. Jackson, a co-worker and friend, shared that’s based on Job 38:
“I Can’t Wait To Hold Your Hand”
The darkness feels so heavy as storms pass one after another,
Are you there? Do you care? We are like a ship without a rudder,
Lost at sea without a clear direction, being tossed to and fro,
Everyone is tired, plus confused, and the crew doesn’t want to row,
Our focus has gotten blurry and all we want are answers to our issues,
The problems we’ve created for ourselves, we throw them at You,
Still asking are you there? Do you care? How could this ever be?
But you are standing beside us, in the midst of the troubled sea,
You’ve never left us, your hands softly grip around our heart,
Whispering in each of our ears “you’ve been here from the start,”
While we were dust, You were the one that spoke life into our breath,
You are the One that rises the sun and lights the stars,
You are the One that commands the seas and bounds the dark,
Your canvas for art is everything my eyes can see,
Yet I question your power and your love you have for me,
Are you there? Do you care? You still answer my faithlessness,
“Always, forever, no one can take you, not even the evil from the abyss,
Trust me child, no matter the chaos that occurs in your view,
I can’t wait to hold your hand in the Kingdom I’ve prepared for you.”
Through the fog, help us find you, God!
This article originally appeared here.