By James Collins
“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Like most of you, I was heartbroken this past Sunday to hear of the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. My wife and I watched the news reports with shock and horror. We were both in tears. However, my tears turned to anger when an ignorant TV talking head made a stupid comment. He said, “Where was God while all these people were being slaughtered?”
“Where was God?” you ask. God was there. He was there with Farida Brown. He was there with Farida as she brought comfort to the dying. Farida was shot in both of her legs. But she was able to have the strength to drag herself over to a friend. Farida held her hand, telling her she was heading to Heaven. God was there.
He was there with Joann Ward. Joann pushed her nine-year-old daughter Rihanna on the floor and under a church pew. Then she embraced her other three children, using her body as a shield to protect them. God was there.
He was there with Noah Holcombe. Being only 17-months-old, Noah couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Noah could only giggle as nail-pierced hands picked him up and carried him Home. God was there.
He was there with Dennis Johnson. Dennis and his wife, Sara, had recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. With his last breath, Dennis looked at Sara and said, “I love you.” Holding each other, Dennis and Sara died together. They died just as they lived; together. God was there.
He was there with Stephen Willeford. God gave him the courage to stand down evil. Stephen heard the shooting, grabbed his rife, and ran from his house into the carnage. God held his hand steady as he aimed. He fired on the church shooter hitting him twice. Stephen stopped the killer from inflicting more injury. God was there.
He was there with Lula White. He was there with Annabelle Pomeroy. He was there with Haley Krueger. He was there with Richard and Theresa Rodriguez. He was there with Robert and Shani Corrigan. He was there with the Holcombe family. God knew every name. He was there with all 26 who were killed. He was there in every pew, in every seat. God was there in the heart of each believer. He brought them comfort with the knowledge that their faith in Jesus Christ had saved them. God was there.
He was there with that church family. He welcomed them all into Heaven. He kept His promise to them. He did not leave them. He did not forsake them. He took each one by the hand and lead them into eternity. We just think they are dead. They are more alive now than you and I. God was there.
He was there with the survivors. He was there with the families and friends of those killed. He was there throughout the community of Sutherland Springs. He brought comfort and healing. He brought a peace that passes all understanding. He brought Pastor Frank Pomeroy the wisdom to say, “All I can do is lean into Jesus.” God was there.
The point is: Do you know Him? The lesson that we should learn from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs is that this life is temporary. We are not promised tomorrow. Today may be your last day. Do you want the assurance that God will never leave you nor forsake you? Do you want a peace that passes all understanding? Do you want eternal life? God is here. Just like He reached out to First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, God is reaching out to you. God is here. He wants to save you. Repent of your sins and trust Jesus Christ today. Tomorrow may be too late. He is waiting for you now. God is here.
James Collins serves in Southeast Kansas as the Pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. He can be reached at (620) 223-2986 or though the website www.fortscottfsbc.com.