He Knows My Name
The Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Friday, October 6, 2017
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)”
This past week has been a difficult one for our country. We woke up early on Monday morning to hear about the horrific mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, where 58 innocent people were killed and 489 others wounded. They ranged in ages from only 20 years old to 67 years old and were from all over our country. Our hearts are broken over the pain that families are going through right now. Their lives will never be the same. Children will now grow up without a mother or father, parents have lost children, and brothers have lost sisters. I want to encourage all of us to begin to pray for these families like they were our very own. I have been reading the news like you have. I see their names and beautiful faces: Hannah, Heather, Dorene, Carrie, Jack, Steve, Candice, Denise, Sandy, Andrea, Denise, Austin, Christiana, Stacee, Brian, Keri, Dana, Angela, Rocio, Charleston, Christopher, Jennifer, Teresa, Jessica, Carly, Rhonda, Victor, Jordan, Kelsey, Calia-Marie, James, Patricia, Austin, Adrian, Rachael, Jennifer, Carolyn, Lisa, John, Melissa, Jordyn, Quinton, Cameron, Tara, Lisa, Christopher, Brett, Bailey, Laura, Erick, Susan, Brennan, Derrick, Neysa, Michelle, Kurt, and William.
I have never met any of them but I do know one thing for sure. They matter. Their lives matter. God knows each one of them. He made them and created them with great purpose and their lives were tragically cut short by the evil that was inside of one person. We are angry. We know this isn’t right and it isn’t fair. This could be our own mother, our father, our brother, our sister, our friend or our co-worker. I have never been through a tragedy like these families are having to face. What I do feel strongly today is that we are not to forget them. Not today. Not ever.
We need to remember their names and remember them because each life is precious to God. It is hard to find words to say that will bring comfort and offer hope and encouragement. What I have in my heart is that we can do one thing… and that is pray. What do I mean when I say pray? I mean talking to God and truly believe He is listening and that He cares. He is the giver of life, the author of life, the giver of hope and the author of hope. Jesus went about doing good and “healing all those oppressed of the devil for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). He knows how to go to those deep places in us and bring lasting change. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. He feels their pain.
Prayer is talking to a living, real God. I’m so glad He hears. We were created to talk to our Father. I’ve heard it said, ‘Prayer is like breathing”- we can’t live without it. Last Sunday morning at church there was a woman kneeling in front of me whose head was bowed and she was crying. I was holding my 5-year-old niece who asked me what she was doing and why she was crying. I whispered to her that the woman was praying- Jaianna asked me, “What does that mean?” I told her it meant you talk to God and He listens. And sometimes you can hear Him in your heart talk to you. Sometimes you hear Him while you are praying and sometimes answers or direction come at a later time. I told her He always is listening and we can talk to Him wherever we are. She then remarked a few minutes later that she thought maybe the woman was crying because she got hurt. I said, “Yes, maybe you are right, Jai.”
Many of us hurt. Sometimes the pain can be seen on the outside but sometimes it is buried and only God can see it. We smile. We laugh. But we hurt deep on the inside in a hidden place. The Lord doesn’t want us to suffer alone in silence. When we start to talk to God and open ourselves up to Him, we draw near to Him and the warmth of His divine love does indeed come upon us. And we get up off our knees a little different than when we bowed down.
Listen to what Reinhard Bonnke says, “Prayer is not just words. It’s our spirit making live contact with God’s Spirit. Life flows constantly from God like light from the Sun. In prayer, we expose ourselves to its rays and sunbath in the warmth of divine love. So we absorb His goodness and it penetrates to the core of our existence. It is life from above.”
I think we all could use some of that warmth of divine love right now. Scripture tells us that the strong should “uphold the weak”. Let’s lift up the arms of those who are weak right now. Let’s pray with those who are mourning that they would find refuge, strength, and peace in the arms of a loving God. Let’s ask God to make us His hands, His feet, and His heart to others. Look for someone you can touch today. You don’t know what they may be going through.