All I know is, during a time like this, and, in fact, upon thinking about how often -- too often -- this type of tragedy has occurred in the past several years -- 61 times, in fact, since the Columbine massacre, I turn to God.
I know we are living in a skeptical age of all things religious. But, to me, God is not 'religion'. God is real. Or rather, I believe God is real. Because if you ask me if I KNOW that God is real and that God exists and that I have definitive proof -- well, I don't! Not in the way that you and most people want certainty, unequivocal scientific evidence, a binary positive assertion, and logical explanation able to withstand scrutiny under the most rigorous analyses and arguments.
Nope -- no can do! That's why it's called faith.
I have faith -- much more than religion. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually quite a religious person. I LIKE going to church, practicing the sacraments, and praying. I need it. It's what keeps me faithful. It helps me to ground and center myself in the teachings I purport to have faith in. Those would be the teachings of the Bible and in Jesus Christ.
It amazes me how universal and true of all that is Written reverberates to the human condition today! And, ok, much of what is Written is in context to the wisdom of what had already been written, but then, there comes along Jesus Christ -- born in such humble circumstances, living such a common -- really, actually, totally unregal life, hanging out with a bunch of fishermen, and scooting around the towns and countrysides of his world doing his 'thing', and then DYING like a common criminal -- no the death of the worst of criminals of that day -- and He ends up being the King of kings!!!! Yeah -- it ends up, all that He says and all that He came to do -- is that what makes people live GOOD lives, and what gives hope, and love, and faith in the BEST of what people and what this world can be!
That's what believing in Jesus and God, CERTAINLY, does for me!
And let me give you that example of the realness of God's Word and what listening and believing in Jesus actually makes me DO.
As you know, I'm a dietitian. I have studied and worked as a nutritionist for more years than not, at this point in my life. I KNOW alot about nutrition and things like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, metabolism, diets, diseases, food, cookery methods, health promotion, etc. and so on. But what good is it if ALL this knowledge and understanding doesn't inspire me to apply and LIVE this knowledge and understanding in my own life, for sure, but also to have what it takes for me to teach and guide and help people I meet and work with to do the same in their lives??!!
It is an incredible witness to me that the TRUTH of nutrition really does bear out! When I choose to eat according to what I have studied is helpful and necessary for my body to be healthy and function optimally and that what makes me feel and look great -- this is GOOD. Conversely, when I choose to negate all the information I've studied and all the practices I KNOW truly work and I start eating junk, overeating all foods, stopping with my exercise and the physical activity I KNOW my body needs to keep it limber, agile, and healthy -- well -- I feel BAD. Furthermore, when I'm feeling bad, I am not very effective and motivated to reach out to my clientele to share the TRUTH about nutrition, health foods and cookery, and fitness, so, I fail them. It's such a waste of my talent, energy, vocation, and need in the world!
So, in the simple realm of my profession -- there's 'Good' vs 'Bad'. I follow the 'TRUTH' and I'm 'good', I negate the 'TRUTH' and 'bad' results.
And time after time, folks, my natural tendency is to do all the things that make me feel 'bad' -- overeat, go for the high-fat, sickeningly-sweet crap that's out there and put on weight and be less of the person and less of the professional that I am and called to be. Because, I don't know about you, but when I feel like crap, I shun the world. I'm not good to myself nor am I of any use or good to anyone else. Things like worthlessness, self-loathing, self-pity, self-absorption, etc. occupy my time and space --- BAD!
You know what makes me choose for the TRUTH, to carry my cross, and to walk the right path?? Faith. Plain and simple. The belief in a Caring, Forgiving, Loving, Renewing God!!! That's what Jesus came into this crap world to tell me, to teach me, to show me, and to die so that all that is BAD in me could be, somehow, redeemed by God to make me new again and on the road to becoming GOOD!!! The more I read about Jesus, the more I realize -- I don't just love Jesus -- I actually LIKE Jesus. He seemed to be really nice, even though He was the Son of God! He was SO normal -- yet a King!
So, when bad -- very bad things happen in the world, I'm just that much more seeking out to look to God to be there to do what's needed to give hope, comfort, and to bring love back to the world. To the lives and world of those who are suffering through this tragedy, for sure. I pray to God to be side-by-side with every parent, every brother, every sister, husband, wife, son or daughter, mother, father of anyone gunned down -- and to love, comfort, restore, strengthen, renew, forgive and inspire forgiveness! I ask God to send all the right people to be truly helpful and to say the words that are needed to bring peace and love back to the world of the victims of this tragedy and to all of us!
I pray for the world to come back again to having faith in God, and to listen again to Jesus and to the Word.
As I said, I have no proof whatsoever that God exists, but I have equally no definite proof that He doesn't exist!!!
I DO have MORE proof that all the scientific explanations and knowledge, all the technological advances, and all the wisdom and power of men -- even the wisest and most famous of men -- well -- it all seems to be worth not a whole lot when I look around at what's happening in the world today.
In our needy, broken-hearted, suffering world, I'm choosing to err on the side of the foolishness and weakness of a Living, Forgiving, Loving, and Life-Renewing God!
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. 1 Corinthians 25.
May the Peace and Love of Christ be with you and yours! Make someone Happy this Christmas!