Like many Americans waking up on Monday morning, Lauren Eberspacher was shocked and devastated to learn about the heinous mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
The From Blacktop to Dirt Road blogger woke up in the middle of the night to nurse her baby boy when she opened her phone and read the news.
“I have no words, but feel so many things,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am horrified. Saddened. Angry. Devastated. Scared.”
Along with so many fellow Americans, Lauren took to social media to write out her thoughts, to process her feelings, and to share in the hopelessness that swept the nation on Monday morning.
“I sit here and silently cry as I rock my sweet baby. How am I supposed to raise him and his two sisters up to leave our home and go into such a scary world? Can’t I just keep them inside of these four walls forever? Then nothing bad will ever happen to them.”
But as Luke 16:10 reminds us, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”
Of course, Lauren knows that God has trusted her with those three little lives. She longs for nothing more than to be their protector, to keep them safe and to shield them from the painful things of this world—but she knows she can’t put them in a bubble to hide them from all the “scary.”
As a mother, she has a higher calling:
“But it’s also my job to teach them how to be life changers, helpers, and givers of grace. It’s my job to teach them to how love in a world that is so scary. And I can’t do that by hiding them from the scary.”
It’s hard to understand why bad things are allowed to happen. Why innocent people are torn from this life at the hands of evil, and why our all-knowing and all-loving father doesn’t prevent such tragedy from happening.
I have to imagine that the way Lauren described wanting to protect her children is the same desire God has for protecting each of us. We are His children, and He hurts when we hurt.
As long as there is evil in the world, Jesus warns that there will be troubles. But we can hold tight to this: Jesus has overcome the world. Evil will never win.
Rather than joining in with the trending #PrayForVegas, or encouraging her followers how to pray in wake of tragedy, Lauren started a new conversation; one that encourages hope and action in facing the evil that comes—knowing and trusting that God has already gone before us, and won:
“Jesus commands us to go.”
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” —Mark 16:15
“And so we continue to go out into the world and brave the fear. We will go to concerts and theme parks and malls and fly in airplanes. They will grow up and have dreams of becoming teachers and nurses and law makers and ballerinas and farmers and maybe one day even mamas and papas themselves. And our deepest prayer is that they will go into this world that so desperately needs Jesus and speak Truth in the face of grief and fear.”
“It’s not going to get any better this side of Heaven, friends. There will always be pain, there will always be death. But that doesn’t mean that we sit and hide inside our four walls. It means that we go, knowing we serve a God Who’s already won. And we raise our children to be love and tell of blessed assurance in a world of fear. Because we are called to go.”
In closing her powerful post, Lauren extends love and recognition to anyone who is knowingly suffering, reminding them that they are seen, they are known and they are not alone.
“To our neighbors. To the stranger on the street. To Puerto Rico. To Miami. To Haiti. To wherever there is pain. And to Las Vegas. Our hearts are broken. We weep and we pray. So much love to you from someone in one of ‘the fly-over states.’”
We will never know why Stephen Paddock did what he did on Sunday night. We likely won’t be prepared for the next act of terror that comes, and we can count on evil to always come.
But with every breath we take, we have a choice to make.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” —Romans 12:21
Choose Good. Choose Love. Choose God.