Here is an excerpt from the sermon I preached today. I have chosen this portion because I think of everything that was said today, this was the part that God really wanted us to hear. I hope it can help as you sort through the aftermath of tragedy and learn to live in the light:
“I don’t have answers.
I can’t tell you why this happened other than to say evil took center stage in our world for a brief moment. Because it did 20 children, 6 teachers, the gunman’s mother, and a troubled and unstable young man are all gone from our world now. We are left to grieve and to try to pick up the pieces and figure out how to move forward.
I can’t explain why this happened any better than you can. But one thing I know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that God’s finger was not resting on that trigger.
Please don’t make the mistake of saying, ‘This was God’s will…’when speaking of the deaths of innocents because this was NOT God’s will.
But I can tell you where I DID see God’s will.
God’s will was in the courage of a school principal and psychologist who ran toward the gunfire with the hope of saving the children in their charge.
God’s will was in the teacher who shielded her students with her own body, hoping her sacrifice would give life to another.
God’s will was in the janitor who rushed through the school when he could have rushed out, shouting a warning to others and saving lives in the process.
God’s will was in the children who lead each other to safety and comforted one another in a moment of terror.
God’s will was in the courage of police officers who came rushing in, head-first, to protect and serve.
It was in the firemen, the paramedics, the EMTs who came to a place of danger just to lend whatever help they could.
It was in the doctors who offered their gift of healing.
It was in the prayers that were lifted up all over the world.
It was in the tears that were shed for lives stolen away too soon.
And God’s will was in the pain and sorrow and grief of us all—because this is not how God wants us to live. This is not the plan God had for any of us. And so, our grief is God’s greif.
God’s will was not in the hand of gunman, but is in our hands as we seek to heal a broken-hearted nation.
For a moment, darkness caught us off guard and terror seized us all. But we must not forget that the message we have been given to preach is one of GOOD NEWS—one with the power to set a world free that is held captive by fear and sin and evil. It is a message that can ‘heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.’ It is a message of light and of life. And THAT is where God’s will is in all of this. “
Appalachian Preacher by Rev. Amanda Gayle Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.