I hesitate to even write this as there are millions of voices already clamoring to be heard in the midst of this devastating tragedy. And the more talking there is, the noisier it gets.

And the harder it is to listen.

I am not a politician, nor am I a member of the NRA. I don’t understand much about mental illness, especially the shadowed corners of a human mind that can carry out something so evil.

I am a mother. I am a mother who welcomed her 1st grader home from school on Friday with grief in my eyes.  She asks me what’s for snack. I stare at her Tinkerbell backpack and hold in sobs. For my child, life goes on like any other day. And yet for others…

“WHY is this happening?!” we cry.

And we are pummeled with answers: Gun control, mental illness, policy, religion….our hearts cry out for restitution and relief, while our minds struggle to analyze and problem-solve. Similar to the 9-11 tragedy, we begin looking for a way to rebuild.

But with so many opinions, where do we start?

Brick, mortar, wood, nails…Are these not all valuable materials when building a structure?  It would be unproductive to attempt to build a home with just brick and no mortar, wood and no nails. When it comes to solutions for rebuilding, perhaps we should all be more open-minded about looking at ALL of these issues or “materials”.

But suppose we do decide to use all of the materials. What then? Do we just fling all the materials into a pit? Do we attempt to build the second story first? Or do we start with the foundation…

And go UP from there?

After all, if we don’t get the foundation right, everything we stack on top of it absolutely crumbles – good materials or not.

America is going very wrong. No matter who or what we choose to blame, we can sense the ground beneath us crumbling. And we fear for the future.

But if something is crumbling… shouldn’t we be checking the foundation?

I am a mother. I am not a religious scholar, nor do I want to “push” my beliefs on anyone. But evil visted us on Friday. Most of us agree with that. And we can’t asnwer a spiritual problem with a non-spiritual answer.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

Jesus says He is the Rock upon which we build. Only when He is the foundation can we start stacking other materials. Evil is all around us, threatening to crash in at any moment and steal everything precious to us. We can make good policies…and we should. We can investigate mental illness…and we should.

But if we throw all of these on a faulty foundation, we are on sinking sand.

I plead first with people who call themselves Christians to listen to the Person they claim to know. Let’s get the foundation right in our own homes and hearts and stop expecting everyone else to behave in a way that we ourselves haven’t seemed to master.  We can toot our horns and clang our symbols…or we go to work, erecting  beacons of light and towers of love that will prevail in the darkness. Let’s get involved in policy, but let’s also raise our children with values…children who truly love Jesus and who pray, whether their schools allow it or not.

And let’s live clean and blameless lives. God forbid we are the ones who invite the evil in.

And I plead with everyone else. That, at the very least,  you might understand that those who know Jesus believe with all of our hearts that we possess a hope, an absolute treasure – even if we don’t always act like it.  Horrible things have been done throughout history in the name of Jesus. I understand this. There have been far too many counterfeits defacing His Good Name and mocking His credibility….people who bear His name and live horrible lives. Even true Christians are guilty of representing him poorly at times. Many times.

I ask your forgiveness.

But the Truth of Jesus is not held down by weak impersonators. Jesus is GOOD, despite the shortcomings of man. He is nothing BUT Good. I believe His goodness is often attacked and hidden because evil knows His value to us.

Do we?

According to Jesus in this Scripture, there are those who hear His words and follow through…and those who hear and do not follow through. Almost all of us have heard the name of Jesus in this country. To some, He’s almost “old news”…as though He’s a juvenile answer to a complex problem. But we will hear His name a lot in the upcoming weeks.

I pray we listen.

And follow through.

I’ve seen Him. I’ve seen what He can do to change hearts, to offer hope, to right wrongs and to heal the broken-hearted. I’ve seen it.

I’ve experienced it.

I am a mother. I am not a politician, I am not a preacher, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I am not a religious scholar. I am a mother whose eyes are swollen with tears of sadness, longing to live in a world where innocence can be stolen from us.

But I am also a mother who believes that Jesus is who he says He is. And when my daughter asks me why bad things happen, Jesus is a comfort I know I can always give her. In the midst of evil, we can panic and search for answers…or we can go straight to the source of Love itself.  Our thirsty, aching souls can drink Goodness in until it fills every crack and crevice of our shattered spirits. Right here. Right now.

And we can cling to the Hope that one day He will “wipe away every tear”. For good.

I don’t know why it so often takes tragedy  for us to finally pay attention. But of all the voices clamoring to be heard, I beg all of us, listen to His.

It’s the only One worth listening to.

  

My Hope is Built (an old Hymn)

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

 I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.

 In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found.

 Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

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