"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
My heart is heavy for the members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs and their community this Monday morning. Since the moment I read about this tragedy, my thoughts and prayers have been focused on this congregation and its pastor. I cannot fathom the depth of this kind of loss. Then, I read my scripture for today, Hebrews 13:8.
There is so much in this life that we cannot fix, change, or prevent because we live in a fallen world wrecked by sin. Sure, we can take steps to prepare for bad things, like when our church went through a process a couple of years ago where we developed an emergency response action plan. Thanks to the diligent work of David Millican, a member of our church and a Denton Police Officer, we have a plan for almost any kind of emergency. As a staff, we will continue to develop and communicate this plan for the safety of our members and guests. However, temporary safety is not our number one priority, eternal security is. And Jesus is the answer.
There have always been cultural trends and philosophies that offer a false sense of security. You can eat the perfect diet and exercise religiously, wear a helmet and a bullet proof vest when you let the dog out, live in a “safe room,” and do background checks on all your friends and family (you haven’t done that?), but there will come a time when this earthly body will breathe its last breath. A good life will not save you, nor will baptism or church membership. It will not be your worship style, or when and where you go to church. Only Jesus can save you and He is the same “yesterday and today and forever.”
Jesus said, ‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Those believers that were robbed of their physical lives on Sunday, have entered real life, abundant life, eternal life. Their loss is sad, but their gain is worth celebrating. Their loved ones need our prayers and God’s comfort, but I hope they’re encouraged by the fact that those believers that perished are now with the Lord.
Nothing has changed the fact that He loves them as much today as the day He died on the cross for their sins. As believers, we do not have to be controlled by our fears, but can live the power of our Awesome God. So, let’s pray together that God will use this tragedy to draw people to Himself: His love, grace, power and purpose for their lives. And pray that as the sun rises each day, the broken hearted will be reminded of His unchanging love, “the same yesterday and today and forever.”