Monday, April 16, 2007

Pain and suffering and death...

I've been thinking a lot about pain, suffering, and death today. It was not something I wanted to dwell on, but rather something forced on me by circumstances: (warning: the first link is hard to read) Virginia Tech, Heather, and Sheryl. There is so very much suffering in this world, so very much pain and loss and agony. It reaches deep down within us, a yearning that defies words' capability to express: to be free of this world where everything seems to go wrong - and for what? We rarely glimpse any hint of a higher purpose. What, we call out in the night as we lie awake, can God possibly do that is good out of 32 victims being gunned down on a university campus? What good can He accomplish through a brain tumor, or a death from the quick onset of cancer? And we don't hear any good answers.

So we usually blame God. I've been reading Job for the last week or so. His friends get it wrong a lot - but so does Job. He considers himself righteous enough to merit God's favor and blessing. He completely misses the degree of our sinfulness - that God owes us nothing, that whatever favor He grants us is just that: favor. This terrible world, in all its darkness, with all its horrific bitterness and hatred and malice... it's our fault. Yours. Mine. Ours. We did this. We rebelled and turned the beauty that God had created this earth and especially human relationships to be into something perverted, something blacker than the night sky - something evil. We deserve whatever "misfortunes" come our way - horrible though that sounds. It's the truth, painful though it is to hear.

Gladly for us, it's not the whole truth. The whole truth is that God's love is bigger than our sin - even with the great and terrible magnitude of our sin, the destruction that it has sown in this world. God in Christ died to save us from this mess we've created. He died so that people could be free. He died so that we could again be in fellowship with God - a relationship that we severed, and in so doing brought this catastrophe upon ourselves and our world. That kind of love is bigger than I can understand. But I'm grateful for it, more than ever, in the midst of these circumstances. What hope have we without The Hope of the Nations? None. But with Him - all.

I have been moved to pray for the friends and family of the man who committed this terrible crime today. As someone commented earlier in the midst of this: what kind of a place must that man have come to - what depths of hopelessness and in all likelihood, demonic oppression - to be able to take the lives of so many others, and finally his own? To what extent must his life have seemed ruinous and failed for that choice to seem acceptable? I have been praying, since then, that those close to this man would be comforted as only God can comfort, that they will know the power of Christ's love in their lives. I have been praying that others will be comforted as well, of course - the grieving friends and families of those who lost their beloved, those in the hospital who are recovering (and God heal them!) of wounds taken today, the administration at the campus (so much guilt and concern), the police... so many affected so deeply. Even here, the little twitches of fear I see in people's eyes. Donne had it right. No man is an island. Please join with me in praying for all those affected by today's tragedy. And please join me in praying for Sheryl's family and many friends - many lives she touched, by all I know of her - in the wake of her death. And please join me in praying for Heather and for her family, in the midst of trying circumstances themselves.

And please - join me in praying for the power of the gospel, so that people can have the hope they so desperately need, so that people can have lives that are renewed and made whole, so that there can be healing and not only grief. This is not a problem of guns, or of sociology, or of psychology. It is a problem of sin, and that needs Christ to fix. His love, His sacrifice, His incredible mercy... pray for the fullness of that truth to be proclaimed everywhere in every language and every tongue.

He is our only hope.

I love you all. God bless you, and rest in His peace.

- Chris


  1. This has been the worst kind of shooting ever. Just hearing about it makes me questioned how civilized are we really, much less how good are we really? I'm not saying we should start assume the worse of people, but having the benefit of the doubt shouldn't mean people are to ignore the dark side humanity. It also reminds me on how we never know how a person handles stress or being left out. Human nature is constant yet unpredictable at the same time.

    I think this shooting at Virginia Tech will reopen up the debate of gun control and the issue of the 2nd Amendment. It will end up being a political platform to get votes sadly to say but whatever. For me, I'm on the moderate side on the issue of gun control while having no standing on what is the proper interpretation on the 2nd amendment. If interested in debating with me on this topic, you can go on facebook and find my IM SN ;P (hehehe)

    On the side note, this reminds me of an incident in my school last semester, which was a suicide attempt. It happened in my dortimory(it's an all girls dormitory) in the third floor (I live on first floor. Needless to say, the guy lived thanks to the quick response of the girls. However, looking back at it, I wondered why did it happened in Christian university or what happened in his life that led to suicide. If interested for detail, go to for more info.

  2. This incident is heart-wrenching. Words elude me to describe the grief in my heart for all who have suffered in this travesty.

    It is dreadfully evident that Satan, the enemy of God and God's people, is bent on destruction (to rob, kill, and destroy) and he does not care who, but only how many. He does not care about the cost, only that he can cause destruction.

    This is fuel to the fire for why we need to be so bold in these days in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to all around us, without fear and without shame. There is a lost and dying world all around us that desperately needs the salvation available through Jesus.

    Thank You Father for Your mercy. Thank You Holy Spirit for Your comfort for those who are hurting and in emotional and physical pain. Lord Jesus reveal Yourself through Your Holy Spirit to these who need You in this hour of desperation. Thank You God that You WILL!

    Thank you Chris for your tender heart.


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