Hope Found in the Chaos  

TRAGEDY AND TRAUMA...

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Still fresh, the day after the flood of news of the largest mass-shooting on U.S. soil, when the gates of hell rained open fire on people as they were led to sing “God Bless America”, the confusion and subliminal 'angst' was growing within me. Hurting deeply for the lives lost, the injured and the families affected, my thoughts went to the ripple-effect of this tragedy as I tried to wrap my head around it. -Very hard to process when our daily calendars did not know a tragedy would interrupt our 'daily programming'; so I rose early that morning and I asked, "How?", then sat, and listened to learn how. -The 'how' to handle it all. How to process it. And when I did, like a kiss from heaven, this is the verse my eyes fell upon as I opened His word…

"The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22, 23

A real reminder of what always awaits. HIS presence.
Because of kisses from heaven like this, I know He cares, he knows my anxious thoughts and troubled heart. He knows, as depicted by one of His names: "The God Who Sees". He sees me and you the same.

THE EMERGING STORY

 Photo Lindsay Padgett

Photo Lindsay Padgett

Later that day, surveying the news scenes of chaos and carnage on the Vegas strip, another story was unfolding, amongst the horror- HOPE. It was clear something was rising from within the pandemonium... Complete strangers worked in perfect harmony as if trained to work in tandem. It was surreal to watch the accounts how order emerged from the chaos to rescue and aid the wounded. And what was evident was their courage and split-second thinking. -To run back to tend the wounded, teams of people buddying up with each of the wounded to care for and carry them. Others improvising to find make-shift stretchers of what once was crowd control fencing, while others waved down pick-up trucks to serve as emergency ambulances. And later, countless citizens lining up for blocks to give blood.

As I saw this, what suddenly surprised me was a memory forgotten: 'the way it used to be', people working together despite differences. It popped from the screen. What was I seeing? Where did this come from, what motivated them? I had not seen it emerge like this in mass for years. What was the common denominator of these people?...

Valor

I so took this for granted in the past. The sense of unity we had, a moral compass in our daily life to do good, to sacrifice, even taking risk to do the right thing. That kind of valor on wide scale was so long forgotten that the contrast caught me. What is the why of this heroism? Where does it come from? What lies beneath valor? ...

Love

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We are all very much the same, yet all very unique. Within us lies the same need: To love and to be loved. Isn't that what a good soldier fights for after all? To protect what he loves? To fight for truth and justice? To right wrongs?

That is what we saw emerge- great valor fighting for truth on the ground in Vegas. "Sin City" was now filled with saints - serving and sacrificing as if all together saying "whatever wishes to take us down will not!".

What a metaphorical picture of the condition of our country at this time.
Now darker in division as never before, sin appears up/front and center-screen; showing right as wrong and wrong as right. The demand for "tolerance" appears to have an unpronounced martial law, placing a muzzle over mouths from speaking out personal convictions, while criticalness, arguing and in-fighting supersedes locking arms to move forward.  

And just as heroes are only born in war, I think if ANY good could arise from this tragedy and horror brought by the true enemy, the one who introduced death to this fallen world, is that we agree it is time for us all as a country to love and rise in valor.
-To bring good and stand for good. People have good in them when they have love in them, and can do good, and even great things when we do them together. 

Here holds a promise a hard-core spiritual dynamic we can use as armament when darkness hits hard: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:21

All turn to truth in times of terror.  
And Truth states: But be encouraged “...do not be terrified, do not fear or dread them.”
Deuteronomy 20:3.

This is why I need to return to Love daily.
I can't live without love, without seeking it out. God is love, my daily bread. As I experienced earlier, His word ‘wowed me’ as truth: "In His presence is fullness of joy" Psalm 16:11. Yet joy doesn't mean 'happiness', instead it means: "Joy is gladness in our heart and soul that remains undimmed by the trials, tests and tribulations we have in our world.” Although we live in a fallen world filled with apathy, hurts, uncertainty and darkness, the Psalmist said that in God's presence is the fullness of joy. 

And the truth is- Love brings joy. One cannot have joy without love, and in turn, one cannot have peace without joy- gladness of heart and soul.
Love> Joy> Peace
"Joy" brings...Peace! Oh sweet peace.

The BLESS’ED PROMISE.

It can be found.
- Which for me, comes from the assurance of the promise of His presence that He is with me throughout every test, trial and trauma. The verse then proves true: "The Joy of the Lord is my strength." - Nehemiah 8:10

With an epidemic of anxiety before us, and the tests, trials and trauma we in this nation are now facing, we certainly need the gates of heaven to rain down love, joy and peace. I call it revival.

There is no mass murder, storm or shaking that could ever separate us from His love. No personal mourning, no murder of our own sense of self, no storms of personal trial and traumas or shaking of our circumstances that can separate us from love or the 'what matters most in the war-torn trenches of life' than the TRUTH of what is true between here and eternity.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragedy to see it rise.

Let HOPE arise.
In His presence…WOW.

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© 2017, WOW Ministries International, Casey Schutrop

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