There was a shooting near my hometown today. On a street that I frequented as a little kid, in an area where my high school friends and I have fond memories, one man decided he wanted outright control of his life. He was stuck in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, a hair stylist, and he wanted to have the final say. So he took to the streets, armed and motivated, and destroyed eight lives – and countless thereafter – in an attempt to regain control over his own.
It legitimately shook me up. In the midst of one of the most hectic academic weeks of the semester, my reality got checked in a major way. I was scrambling to make sure all my friends were alright, as if checking off the people I knew would make the deaths seem less real. It didn’t. I kept imagining the street and its small shops, replaying my memories of those picturesque summer days in Seal Beach. I told myself to focus on my schoolwork, to focus on my assignments that are due tomorrow and I gradually settled into an academic groove. But I keep returning to prayer throughout the day. There’s nothing I can physically do for the people who are suffering except get on my knees in prayer.
It’s moments like these that our theology becomes real. What we believe about God – his love, his grace, his mercy, and his sovereignty – has to be lived out in moments like these. These are the moments when we have to view real life tragedies through the lens of the gospel; when we respond to the unexpected circumstances of life knowing and believing that we have a divine Father who loves, a God who’s in control. Times like these are inevitable in a fallen world. Times like these cause our faith to grow, and challenge us to have an even higher view of our Lord. It’s times like these where we have no answers but trust that He is working for our good and for His glory (Rom. 8:28). Let us continue to pray for those affected in Seal Beach, CA.