Church is supposed to a sacred place, a place to worship our God, a place where we feel safe. But after several recent church shootings, it doesn’t feel safe. It feels scary. So what are we supposed to do? How do we handle this?
My heart hurts, and I’m afraid.
I’m nursing my baby after church on a beautiful Sunday in November, looking forward to seeing friends that evening. I scroll Facebook and I see the news.
Mass shooting. At a church. Small Texas town. 27 dead. At least that many injured.
My heart breaks. Tears fill my eyes. I pull my baby a little closer.
I’m from another small town in Texas, a community with only a few more people than Sutherland Springs. 642, to be exact. And I know most of them.
I go to church every Sunday in a church much like the one in Sutherland Springs. It’s not fancy or big or elaborate. Ours is a small country church building, but we love the Lord, and we’re there to worship Him.
Images of the shooting fill my head, and I just can’t imagine the pain. I can’t. If 27 members of my church family were gone, and the rest of them injured?
What if it was the elderly man that sits in the back that was killed? The family that fills the whole pew across the aisle? The men who run our sound? The worship team? The pastor? My husband and child?
No. I won’t go there. I can’t.
This world is terrifying. It breaks my heart and makes me cry. It leaves me shaking in my boots most days.
But I should not, cannot, and will not live in fear. I can’t.
I can’t live in fear when the world so desperately needs Jesus. Christians are literally coming under fire, but what the devil means to use for evil, God intends to use for good. (Genesis 50:20)
So we rise up. We get out of bed every morning. We go to work or raise our babies or walk down the halls at school. We love our neighbors and take care of our families and worship our God.
And on Sunday, with no fear, we step foot into our places of worship. We open up the door of our little country churches, of our big city auditoriums, we meet in our homes and our parks and anywhere else, and we worship. We pray. We listen. We love. We praise.
Because we can’t turn away from God when we’re scared. We can’t.
Greater is the One in us than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) God is bigger. Bigger than every tragedy, every disaster, every fear. Let us rise up and praise Him, fearlessly.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” – Proverbs 29:25
“So we can say with confidence, ‘The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?'” – Hebrews 13:6