yesterday afternoon, a horrible and unexpected tragedy struck seal beach, ca, the next town down if you're driving along PCH. eight people were killed as a gunman opened fire on a small hair salon in a peaceful, quiet, tight knit community. the greatest tragedy of it all is how quickly it happened, and how mercilessly these innocent lives were taken.
this week has been what i would call a 'heavy' week, and yesterday's events only further confirmed that. ever since, i've had that gnawing feeling of uncertainty hanging around me; i guess you could say i feel 'on edge.' those feelings are not from God, but they are real. in light of everything though, there is one truth that's been resounding in my head - God is in control, & that knowledge is so very reassuring.
this past weekend, at women's retreat (pictures are coming, i promise!), a lovely lady from our church spoke about identity, and clinging to our identity in Christ when everything is stripped from us. four years ago, she unexpectedly lost her husband of 51 1/2 years, and her story was absolutely heartbreaking. yet, she reminded us all that though circumstances change, our God never, ever changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. what a wonderful hope that is, to know that even when our lives are spinning out of control, or this world is plummeting and we can't stop it, God still remains, His truths remain, and there is unwavering strength and hope in Him.
sometimes, i'm thankful for the bad, because it reminds me of how big, how awesome our God is. He sees it all, sees a bigger picture than our narrow 'here & now' perspective. He understands our sorrow, and yet He provides endless joy. He understands our weakness, and in it, gives us His strength.
our theme for the weekend was to "keep God first." being in His word and in constant prayer are the simplest (and sometimes the most difficult) ways of doing that. sometimes, it takes bad things in order to draw us closer to Him, but He promises that when trials come, He is there. when things are good, He is still there. He is always there - how awesome is that?!
i couldn't imagine life not knowing such power and love. without it, there'd only be hopelessness.