Posted by: Kris Lindsey | August 1, 2012

Coping with Colorado

How do you deal with news like the Aurora, Colorado tragedy? At first, it seemed like a horrific stunt we’d see in a movie—not in real life. A real person wouldn’t coldly shoot so many for no apparent cause, would he?

Throughout the following days, my mind kept drifting back to the theatre, trying to put the pieces together. What did that smoke-filled scene look like—from the perpetrator’s and the victim’s view? What might they have thought? The more vividly I recreated the action in my mind, the more my stomach knotted and my chest tightened.

I quickly realized that getting myself all worked up did no good. The damage was done. Dwelling on it would only drag me down and prevent me from doing the things God had for me here. I needed to let go and give this mess to God. He could handle everything.

But, come to think of it, where was he? If God was in control, why would he let something like this happen? Oh yeah—free will. How God’s heart must break to see his precious gift of self-determination twisted and turned to wreak havoc on his children.

Yes, God was there. Romans 8:28 says he works all things for good. But how could he in this situation? The words “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3) popped into my head. Of course. God can bring beautiful life from the worst devastation. New growth always emerges from a burnt forest. Life wins!

In the meantime, however, how could I cope with the negative stories I would inevitably hear? I decided to ignore, as much as possible, the crime itself and focus on the positive side of the reports to see what God might be doing.

The next time my husband turned on the news, I was pleasantly surprised to see the favorable coverage of the Colorado church services. The Pastor’s words reminded me that God is our best source of comfort and hope.

Several stories were about people who saved their friends. Stephanie Davies pulled her wounded friend, Allie, from the aisle amid gunfire and helped her stay alive until the paramedics arrived.

Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves shielded their girlfriends with their bodies—and gave their own lives for the ones they loved. Their acts of valor rose above the blackness and shined.

I stopped myself, though, from thinking about the heartbreak those girls, and all the family members, must feel after their loss. That would only torture me. Instead, I’d help by praying for them.

I did, however, try putting myself in the girlfriend’s seat to see how it would feel to have someone throw themselves over me to protect me from dying. Then I remembered—someone did. Jesus put himself in my place to cover me from the penalty of my sin, dying so I could live. I’ll never think of God’s sacrifice for me the same again.

That day God used this tragedy to give me a deeper understanding of his love for me. I can only imagine the good things God will do to comfort and heal the dear people in Aurora.

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