As we approach Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about the people who recently went to church on a Sunday morning. They attended service that day for various reasons. Some out of obligation. Others because of habit. Some with deep commitment to obedience, with a love for Christ. With thanksgiving. They went to find peace in the sanctuary. To rekindle hope. To know God. Perhaps one came seeking salvation. Whether saint or sinner, they met the same killer. The same weapon. The same terror.
This was one of those situations which brings a cry from the believer: Why? And perhaps from the doubter, a statement: A good God would not allow it to happen. The believer may have no answer for the doubter. The doubter will never convince the believer that God is not good.
The ones who left their earthly bodies, their ties to this world behind from the one place they should have felt safe found themselves immediately in the only truly safe place they could ever know. I can’t help but wonder if they even remembered, once they arrived in their heavenly home, what had just occurred. But that’s only my imagination. God only knows how splendid the swift journey into the arms of Jesus must have been. And how deep the hurt of those left bleeding, of the ones left to mourn.
Now here we are, the safe observers who only experienced the horrible Sunday on TV and then tried to forget that it will happen again. Perhaps some made the decision never to go to church again. Good idea. Never go to church, or a concert, or a school, or a restaurant, or the grocery store for that matter again. Because you not safe. Not in this life.
Feeling thankful? I am. I won’t stop going to church. I’m thankful it’s still legal, if not safe. I’m thankful for schools and music and groceries. For the vast opportunities existing in the time and place God chose to place me. I pray I never cower in fear, but shine the light of the gospel in a world quickly growing darker. I’m thankful for the trip home to heaven, no matter how hard and heartbreaking the exit from this world might be. I know what awaits. And I am most thankful the day is approaching when all things will be made right by the soon returning King of Kings.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Rev. 21:4
Have a joyous Thanksgiving Day.