A shooting at an Orlando nightclub has shocked the world. The total dead and injured make this the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history.
This outrageous attack has caused many to take to social media to express their anger and fear, and also their kindness and hope. Some of us are looking for answers and clarity. Others are looking for justice and revenge. Depending on who you listen to, the blame lies with American gun culture, or Islam, or even the President.
The solutions are as varied as the diagnoses. Build a wall. Confiscate all the guns. Gird ourselves for yet another war against a foe that vanishes in the desert sands only to appear in another spot like a poisonous weed.
How should a Christian respond to not only this tragic event, but to the nagging sense that evil is winning?
And I say also unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.
– Matthew 16:18
Understand that the battle has been won already. Christ has defeated sin and death. When we pray, we are petitioning the victorious Christ that has overcome the world.
I lived in Orlando for a decade and moved just last year. I am an unashamed American who loves all that she stands for. But God is not dependent on America. If America ceases to be, God is not defeated.
He was not defeated at the walls of Constantinople. He was not defeated when Europe fell into darkness and monasteries off the coast preserved the Gospel by candlelight. He will not be defeated by gunmen or bombs or any other instrument of man.
What can we do?
Pray unceasingly. Pray for our leaders, even those we disagree with, because God placed them in leadership.
Pray for our soldiers. They are in harm’s way in lands far from home, and often return to a home that has no use for them.
Pray for the persecuted Church in other lands. Christians are being martyred every day for believing in Christ. We are more blessed than we even comprehend.
Pray for mercy. God knows our fear and our sin and our despair. He wants us to turn to Him no matter the circumstance and no matter the cost.
Pray for the families of those who were killed in the Orlando nightclub. Their anguish is bearing down upon them, and we are called to pray for God’s compassion.
Pray for our enemies. The risen Christ that turned the heart of the Apostle Paul can turn the heart of the most wicked. We are called by God to pray for those that revile us and persecute us.
Of course we must help; not only the victims and their families but those who stand in harm’s way and those tasked with assisting in the aftermath. Of course we must be vigilant; this will happen again and we must prepare and protect. Of course we must defend ourselves and our homeland; peace is the houseguest of strength, not of weakness.
But as Christians, all our actions should begin with prayer. Prayer is our strength and our shield.
We must always remember that the Lord sees us wrestling with the Enemy, and so we must never be afraid. Even should all hell fall upon us, we must be brave. — St. Silouan the Athonite
Be brave, Orlando. The world is watching you. And praying for you.
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