Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pastor: "It's Hard To See God Through All This"

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As we have learned over the past 24 hours, at least 21 victims, including 19 students and two teachers, have been confirmed dead as an 18-year-old went on a shooting rampage in a single classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, leaving behind a trail of horror and grief.

The horror and grief have even left a pastor admitting, "It's hard to see God sometimes through all this."

So many questions.

Be informed, not misled.

The horror.

Chris Olivarez, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson, told CNN yesterday that all the injuries and fatalities took place in one classroom.

University Health Hospital in San Antonio confirmed yesterday that they are caring for four patients connected to the shooting, including the late shooter's 66-year-old grandmother, who remains in serious condition.

The other patients at that hospital include a 10-year-old girl in "good" condition and a 9-year-old girl in "good" condition.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott identified the shooter as Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School, who was shot and killed at the scene.

While all of the names of the victims had not yet been released as of last night, I'm sure that list will be forthcoming.

Some families, whose child has been publicly identified, are remembering as they grieve.

The grief.

Lisa Garza of Arlington, Texas talked about her cousin, Xavier. She told Associated Press, "He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen" that day.

She says, "He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers and his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us."

Uziyah's grandfather, Manny Renfro, told AP, "He was the sweetest little boy I have ever known,"  remembering his last visit with his grandson---teaching him how to play football--- "I was teaching him pass-patterns"--- "He was doing just great."

Amerie's grandmother told the Daily Beast that her granddaughter was trying to call 911 when she was killed. She said, "My grandaughter was shot and killed for trying to call 911. She died a hero trying to  get help for her and her classmates."

Amerie's father told the New York Times that she was "full of life, a jokester, always smiling."

"She was very social," he says, "she talked to everybody."

Then the grieving father said he thought he and his family were finally getting a break after losing several family members to COVID-19 this past year. "Then this happened."

Then this happened.

The questions.

Rev. YJ Jimenez, who leads the First Baptist Church was in the waiting room at Uvalde Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon offering support to family members of shooting victims. 

He told the New York Times that two of his parishioners lost their grandchild and he had never had to deal with such grief in his 30 years of ministry.

He said, "Sometimes it's about the presence and the prayers. In times like these, all you can do is cry."

The pastor said, "This has impacted us. We come to let them know how much we care and how much we love them and offer support in any way we can. We are at a loss. It's hard sometimes to see God through all of this."


All pastors have been there, feeling they don't have all the answers---because they don't. I've been there as a pastor.

But I know this for absolute certain. It is there, in death's shadow, that God meets us with the beauty, the sure reality, and the hope of the gospel.

As pangs of death and grief pierce our hearts, we join what the Bible calls the "groaning of creation for all things broken to be made right." It is there, in death's shadow that God meets give light to those who sit in the darkness of loss and grief---those who sit in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).

For those who have accepted Christ as personal Savior, there is the promise of redemption that paints the bright colors of God's love over the darkness.

There is eternal hope in God through Christ for redemption, renewal, and being reunited with our loved ones.

Consider this.

No one travels through life without, at some point, experiencing the loss of someone or something dear. The loss of a loved one through death is one of life’s most intense challenges, and the pain can be overwhelming. But God doesn’t leave you to suffer alone. 

Stand of these Truths from God's Word.

To be absent from the body, the Bible tells us, is to be present with the Lord.

Those who have accepted Christ as Savior, and children not yet to an age of accountability will be "with the Lord."

  • “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:4). Jesus, the greatest empathizer, understands what you are going through and will stay beside you.
  • “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The Lord will wrap His arms of love and comfort around those who trust in Him.
  • “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Lean on God and allow Him to continue the process of healing your broken heart.
  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4). Comforting you is God’s specialty.
  • “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). God promises to be with you and get you through this time of intense disappointment,  loneliness, or loss.
  • “The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. … So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:52, 54). At Christ’s return, those who belong to Him will be raised and given life that will never end.
  • “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). God has promised He will permanently dry your tears.

Be Informed. Be Certain. Be Comforted.