After a series of hurricanes and earthquakes and natural disasters, now we have this – a tragedy of a much different sort. Like many of you, I watched news of the Las Vegas shootings unfold in shock and grief. “How could someone open fire on a crowd of innocent people?” We want to know. It is a natural human tendency to want to make sense out of tragedy, to find reasons for it or at least an explanation. Yet to date, no viable explanation or motivation for the Las Vegas shootings has been identified. If a reason is soon discovered, would it even help?

What we are left with is two seemingly contradictory realities:
1. We live in a fallen world.
We live in a world in which things like insanity and evil exist and are given free reign. In the case of the Las Vegas shooter, certainly both insanity and evil are present. But there was also a high degree of planning and preparation involved, a high degree of rationality. Rationality and insanity, rationality and evil are not mutually exclusive. Rational planned evil is the most heinous of all.

In the end, warped, deranged thinking and evil intention might be the only answers to the question “Why?” This event is yet one more symptom and further evidence of the fallen-ness of the world in which we live, and that’s all there is.

2. God remains sovereign.
How can God be in control of a world in which things like mass shootings and genocide happen far too often? It is true even so. There is a deep mystery here, and frankly one that can only be accepted and appreciated through the eyes of faith, for the evidence itself indicates otherwise: God allows us free choice and all the attendant evil which ensues, yet God remains sovereign over it all. God allows evil and all it causes, and God is continually at work redeeming – both of these are true. I do not know how or why it has to be this way. It is true even so. There is nothing outside the redemptive purpose and work of God, even in the face of the reality of human evil.

There are glimpses of the redeeming work of God in the Las Vegas tragedy. We see it in strangers helping other strangers, putting their own lives in danger to bring others to safety or medical care. We see it in the first responders who rushed toward danger and stopped the shooter before more killing and damage could be done. We see it in those who waited in line for hours just so they could give blood, and in those who have donated to help the victims and their families. And we see it in the millions who have offered prayers on their behalf. Let us continue to pray!

I do not know what the redeeming work of God looks like from this point forward for the victims of this shooting. I do not know what the redeeming work of God looks like in places in the world where the killing of 59 innocent people and the wounding of hundreds more is a common occurrence. I do know it is true even so, and that the Lord will be at work redeeming in ways we cannot begin to understand or imagine.

Clarification on “Office” Hours
Not that it ultimately matters, but since I have been asked several times I want to let all know the schedule for office hours at CTR.
We intend on being present from 9:30-1:30pm Tuesday-Friday. I am scheduled to be in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Steve is scheduled for Wednesdays and Thursdays.

With that said, this is a loose framework and things do change. School assignments sometimes become too great a hurdle for Steve to overcome, and until my internet service improves, I am typically in the ‘office’ writing Musings on Thursdays (like right now). Tomorrow I have a conflict in Raleigh and won’t be in the office, and the following Friday I will be hiking in the mountains with other RezMen. You get the idea… The schedule is rough and subject to change, but between the two of us, Steve and I will try to have Tuesday through Friday covered – most of time.

A Thank You
Just a note to say thanks for my birthday surprise last Sunday. I wasn’t expecting anything and don’t really need the chips (which are mostly gone at this point,) but it was nice to be remembered! I want you to know how much I love and appreciate all of you!

See you Sunday!