That’s the only word I can think of to describe what happened yesterday at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill. A Pastor, doing what he loved to do, what he was called to do, gunned down for no apparent reason. Time will tell if there is any connection with the gunman, but for now it just appears to be a tragic, senseless crime.
It’s a sad day for all of us. When people cannot go to a place that they consider safe and express their love for God and others and learn how to share that love with others, it’s a sad day. That’s really what we want, isn’t it? We want to go to church and show love, express love, learn to love, and be equipped to love. With all that love going around, how could something so tragic happen?
We may never know the motive behind this shooting. We certainly will never understand what was in the gunman’s head. But one thing is for sure: God knows. God says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” You may have heard this verse before, but I want you to look at the second and third words again, “I know”. God knows. Period. That’s all that really matters. We don’t have to understand. We don’t have to feel badly for our ignorance. God knows. We can find peace and comfort in those words. We can continue the mission He has given us in that promise. He knows.
So What? Don’t allow this tragic event to keep you away from God or His Church. If you attend a church, continue to go and support the ministries it provides. If you don’t, find one, begin to attend and get involved. Events like this will either push us closer together and to God or will drive us further away. Only you can decide what it does to you. God knows.
Pray for First Baptist Church in Maryville. Pray for the Pastor’s family. Pray for the church members who were injured. And don’t forget to pray for the gunman and his family too. They are facing a tough time as well.