The past 6 days in Orlando has been rough to say the least.
On Friday night, a singer was killed after a performance by a man that targeted her for her Christian faith.
On Saturday night, a man entered a club filled with hispanic men and women, many of whom are LGBTX. He proceeded to shoot at least 98 people, injuring many and killing at least 50. After an hours-long standoff he was killed by the Orlando SWAT team, but not before he hit and injured one of them as well.
Yesterday (Tuesday) a 2-year-old was attacked and killed by an Alligator on Disney World property.
Our city is filled with grief, confusion, questions, and accusations; but, above it all, I’ve seen people from all over the city, and from many communities stepping up to hold up the heads of those who are weary, to bind up, to care for, and to tend to those who have been affected directly or indirectly. Blood donation lines were too long for everyone to give, and a local Chick-Fil-A opened up on a Sunday to provide food and drink to those waiting to give. Churches are opening up their doors to families that are too overwhelmed to plan funeral services, and providing space where grace can be abundant.
Our household wasn’t close to any of the instances, we didn’t know anyone at the concert, or at the club, but we could have! We easily could have had neighbors, classmates, or coworkers at the concert on Friday, and almost all of the same groups could have been represented at the club on Saturday.
The club is a block and a half from the hospital where our three kids were born, and where my best friend down here works. On Sunday night one of our friends at church was still waiting to hear from a friend of his who worked as a bouncer at the club (he is okay, he wasn’t working that night).
The singer who was shot was shot 2 blocks from where our church used to meet, a neighborhood we used to pray for regularly.
I don’t know where I’m necessarily going with all of this. I don’t know what the practical solution is to all of these things, all of this hurt, all of the accusations, and anger; but I do know that even this week (perhaps especially this week) that our God is Sovereign. He is not surprised, and He is grieved also. Pray that Orlando’s churches would broadcast the Truth of the Gospel far and wide, that the Holy Spirit would drive it into hearts, and that we would see repentance and belief as one of the fruits of this difficult week.
The performer who was shot was named Christina Grimmie. She was fairly famous in YouTube, and got close to winning the TV show The Voice. On Friday she became a martyr, and I believe she received her Crown of Life (Revelation 2:10). About three years ago she recorded “In Christ Alone” and I’m going to end this post with it: