Orlando: Finding Peace in Tragedy

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Today’s post: ORLANDO: FINDING PEACE IN TRAGEDY

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

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It is hard to be at peace watching the news these days, especially after seeing the coverage of the Orlando Shooting that just killed 50 innocent people and injured 53 more. As the world seems to be spinning out of control with mayhem, hatred, evil, and increased violence, we may need to have a paradigm shift from fear to faith–consciously, actively working for peace—in our own lives, our communities, and our nation.

The difficult truth about the Orlando Shooting is that it could have happened anywhere in the US and the global community, as terrorism defies authority and borders and is fueled by unbridled extreme hatred. So many questions press forward in the aftermath of this heinous crime, the worst shooting in American history, and there are no easy answers. This tragedy surely evokes and provokes anger and fear in all of us. How did this happen in this age with so much American and global vigilance towards terrorism? Could this happen in my own community? It makes us wonder, is there no place that one can go to escape and avoid the throes of hatred and terrorism in these days of radical extremist hatred and ISIS? But consider this Bible promise:

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”  John 16:33

Though unsettled by the violence, we need to look into our own hearts and minds and pray fervently for an outpouring of love and peace in our own personal lives, for love and peace can only come from trusting in Jesus, our Almighty Savior, Protector, and Comforter. In as much as Jesus is Lord and we are not, it is important to leave room for Him to move as He will, as only He can handle the evil we encounter. But this much. And this much I know for sure—

What occurred was not a case of mental illness, but of abject evil gone awry.

Our knee jerk reaction may easily be one of a surge of negative emotions, pressing questions, fear and even hatred for the shooter. Most unsettling, perhaps there may seem to be nowhere to hide from such extreme acts of hatred and terrorism, but there is. For believers and non-believers alike, it is an illusion to think we are in this world all alone. For God is with us, and in earnest prayer, we all need to place this nation, this world squarely in the hands of God! Consider this profound biblical promise:

“He [God] will shelter you with his pinions, and under His wings you may take refuge;his faithfulness is a protecting shield.” Psalm 91:4

It is not our place to judge, but it is our job to love others to the best of our abilities. Faith and fear cannot coexist, but the peace of Jesus Christ transcends all adversity and evil.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

Worry and fear can never touch, quell and/or eradicate hatred and evil, but quiet personal and collective prayer to God, in the name of Jesus Christ, can eliminate them both in the blink of an eye, giving us an unshakable peace. Prayer can also help us more easily identify prejudice, hatred and evil for what they are in ourselves and others, and assist us swiftly to higher ground—to love one another as God’s children. In striving for peace, the Bible tells us we need to pray not only for ourselves, but also, even for our enemies, those we fear, and those who have hurt us. Our peace is only found in Jesus through prayer and reading Holy Scripture:

When you are able to boldly pray for your enemies and those who have hurt you this way, internal and external peace is the end result. When you believe that you are not alone in this world, with Jesus at your side, you are free to love the unlovable—able to concurrently hate the sin, AND love the sinner as Jesus does, with uncommon compassion, paving the way to peace.

Please pray with me now…

Dear Father God,

You are the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end. In You there is no darkness at all. Our nation is in dire trouble, and we need you desperately now. We lay this good nation, the United States of America in Your almighty, healing hands this day. Help us to work tirelessly for peace in our families, our communities and our nation, and purge all hatred from our hearts. Look with favor on your people, Lord, those who seek You in earnest. Give us peace in our days, and joy-filled hearts filled with gratitude in You,                                                       and keep us safe from all harm. Amen!

Adele M. Gill     |    June 15, 2016   |     Copyright

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