The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida was another senseless tragedy that our nation is struggling to understand. Like the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut and the shootings of church goers in Charleston, South Carolina, these are all tragedies at the hand of one lone gunman that should not be occurring in a civilized, God fearing nation. Whether the victims are children, African Americans or members of the LGBTQ community, the results are the same.
There are mothers and fathers mourning the loss of their children. There are school games and events parents will no longer have the joy to attend and cheer for their child. Family members will never have the opportunity to attend high school and college graduations. Some of the victims leave behind children that will miss the honor of having their parent plan or attend their wedding, help them move into their first apartment, or celebrate the birth of their first child. There are siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends that have broken hearts, wounds that will never heal and relationships with loved ones that will forever be missed.
The families of the victims aren’t the only ones suffering. Our Heavenly Father is also mourning. God is weeping over the dreams and God assigned missions that will never be completed. Like a pebble thrown into the lake, the loss of a life creates a ripple effect. There are thousands of encounters one has throughout a lifetime. Those encounters leave a lasting impact, which leads to other meaningful encounters. Among the three tragic events mentioned above, almost 100 individual lives were cut short, unable to complete the full ripple effect. Only God knows the number of lives that will go unchanged because the deceased were robbed of opportunities to leave lasting imprints.
So while the fight continues over gun laws, individual rights and the gay lifestyle, none of that will ease the grief that the victims’ families are feeling. Their loved ones will not be returning and their lives will forever be changed.
So let’s not forget the second victims of these tragedies – the families. Let’s keep them in prayer. In Jeremiah 31:13-14, God promises that “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD.
May the victims’ families have the peace of God, which transcends all understanding and will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7).