Saturday, June 11th will be a day that many families and the city of Orlando will never forget.
On that Saturday, my wife and I, and a couple of our friends went to Orlando for vacation. We woke up on Sunday to the horrific news of what had happened in the night club that was maybe 20 minutes from our hotel. TVs and newspapers all around us were filled with stories of what they knew at the time. It started with 20 people who lost their life and the number continued to grow throughout the morning.
As we walked throughout the town that day, you could feel the sadness. We spoke to one cashier who had a friend injured in the shootings. We saw people in line to give blood. We saw a community hurting and people longing to help.
The question that I struggled with all day was "How should I respond?"
I saw posts and read articles that ran the gambit. From gun control, to equal rights, moral convictions, and everything in between. I continue to feel like in times of tragedy that people push agendas. My heart just hurt. 49 young men and women walked into a place that they felt safe, and were not able to walk out. Many more will live with what they saw and heard for the rest of their lives. I imagine many will question, what could I have done?
I responded in the only way I know how. I prayed.
I prayed for the victims. I prayed for the families of the victims. I prayed for the family of the young man who committed this horrible act. I prayed for the owner of the night club. I prayed for the city of Orlando.
I would not consider myself a prayer warrior. I'll be honest, I don't pray like I should. But in the moment I felt helpless. I wanted to do something, anything. In that moment God revealed that he is still in control. He is still all powerful, all knowing, all loving and all wise. And the moment that I speak to my Father, I am in the presence of someone who has the power to do more than I could ever imagine. I was reminded of a quote from Max Lucado, "Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference."
In the effort of full disclosure, I'm not really sure the complete message of this blog post. I simply have been reminded of the power of prayer over the past few days. I've been reminded of a God who loves everyone, and longs for a relationship with each individual. I've been reminded that Christians can be salt to a world that has lost its saltiness. I've been reminded that our God is bigger than all of this mess. I also believe that in this tragedy, people will meet the Lord. That's been my prayer. I want people to see that our lives are but a vapor, here one minute and gone the next, and God wants these moments to matter for His glory. We have a purpose on this earth and that is to make much of Him. So love more, serve more, give more. Say the words that you know need to be said. Take the steps to make your life look more like Jesus. He was often referred to as a friend of sinners. May the same be said of us. I love you, and it's an honor to serve the Auburn/Opelika area with you.