Monday, September 16, 2013 — a day when bad things happened. Twelve people lost their lives and eight others were wounded when Aaron Alexis opened gunfire at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. As the news unfolded throughout the day hearts were stricken with heaviness for the families suffering loss and pain. Questions, speculations and fear gnawed at and gripped the psyche of people in the D.C. area and around the nation. One main question on everyone's mind — why? Why would someone do something like this?

While the motives of Aaron Alexis may or may not ever be fully known, we do know that what he did was horrible, bad, evil — horrendously sinister. Words fail to describe the depth of darkness and derangement at the root of such acts.

Certainly we all would do anything we could to reverse the events of this day. The reality is, it was a bad day — a day when bad things happened. Unfortunately it's not the first day like this, and although we pray and work to avoid these terrible acts and events, this likely will not be the last day like this. As long as evil exists in the world, and as long as brokenness exists in the souls of people, bad things sometime happen.

As believers, as people of faith, what should our response be in times like this? What do we do when bad things happen?

The most important thing to do is to hold on to faith. God never promised a world free from suffering and pain. In fact, Jesus Christ came and gave His life because of the evil and brokenness in our world. He came to change the hearts of people, one-by-one, person-by-person. The Gospel is the Good News — the answer and solution to mankind's deepest problem — sin.

When bad things happen we have opportunities as believers to:

  • Pray for the those who have suffered loss and pain.
  • Hold on to our hope in Jesus Christ as the answer to the world's greatest problem — the problem of the sinful heart.
  • Lean into God as our personal Source of strength, courage and comfort.
  • Pray that the message of Jesus Christ would be believed and received — that people would be changed from the inside out by the good news of God's love and grace.
  • Be examples and messengers of God's love to others, especially to the troubled souls we encounter in our life journey.
  • Continue to live confidently, staying busy doing the good we can do to advance God's Kingdom in our world.

Remember, Jesus came:

” … to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death and to guide us to the path of peace.” — Luke 1:79 (NLT)

When bad things happen, keep your head up and your eyes on Jesus.

Dale O'Shields

 

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