Texas is the biggest State in the Union. There's no pride like Texas pride. Today Texas is known for more than barbecue and being an open carry state. Now Southerland Springs, Texas is known for mass murder in a church. South Carolina has been nudged from that distinction. Southerland Springs was a sleepy town until yesterday. It had a next to village size population.We had never heard of it, but we knew of the near city, San Antonio.
As events unfolded, we paused for a moment and attempted to make sense of it all. Our minds have become numb death and tragedy. Movies and news; media feeds and texting have made photos of corpses and blood commonplace. But church is not suppose to be a place where bodies lie across pews, collapsed on rostrums, or bleeding under a stain glass window, etched with the 'Good Shepherd.'
What we are experiencing is what Jesus told us would happen. What we are watching unfold is the mind boggling, mentally disturbing, emotionally unsettling, end of all things. Yep! That's where we are. We talked about it for years. This is not a recording. This is live; unrehearsed catastrophic events, on a global scale. Try to excuse this as life 'as usual'. You can't do it. You turn your thoughts in another direction to numb the reality, but it marches across your dreams.
26 people were gunned down while singing a hymn. The youngest of the dead was a baby 18 months (Source: NY Times) and the oldest a 77 year old woman. (Source: BBC News). Among the dead were 14 children. That's an all time high for mass murder records.When it was a 'Black thing' we ran for the bully pulpit called racial discrimination and screamed racism. Now, we are challenged with what to say. It was 'white' on 'white'. Clearer still - it was human on human!
God's word has working definitions for this season of earth's history. There are two that immediately come to mind. Let me share them with you.
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." (Genesis 6:11 - Noah's day)
"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son man be." (Matthew 24:37 - Our day)
In the midst of madness, turn to the Word. Search its sacred pages. There is a Biblical answer for all things happening now. We have not been left without instruction or clarity about these times. Don't attempt to explain it psychologically, morally, ethically, relationally, or socially. Those are humanistic approaches. Filter it and speak of it, Biblically. Christ forewarned of these times through His revealed Word. He also spoke of this time in the larger context of the march out. We are given a glimpse of the duration of this world's madness within the same chapter as our passage in Matthew 24. "All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:8).
Faithless, hopeless believers are squeamish about these times. Hopeful, faithful believers see the unfolding events and declare - "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8)
Pray for the folks in Southerland Springs, Texas. They need to know, Jesus cares and He is coming soon.
Keep the Faith. Maranatha.