It is a strange, unusual, and sometimes baffling world in which we live these days. We are all aware of the shooting that happened at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Ft. Worth on December 29. This terrible act resulted in the deaths of two brothers in Christ and the death of the gunman. It makes you shake your head and wonder, “What in the world is getting into people so that they think taking a firearm, or other weapon, to murder innocent people is the solution to whatever problems they are facing?” The first mass shooting that I remember happened on August 1, 1966. Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharpshooter, opened fire from the main building tower at the University of Texas in Austin. He killed 14 people and wounded 30 others before he was killed by police. The whole nation was in shocked disbelief about that incident. Nowadays it seems as if mass shootings happen often enough that they don’t even shock us that much anymore…until one happens close to home.
The elders, along with a few others in our congregation, have been thinking about this for some time and discussing how we can prepare ourselves in the White Rock church family if anything like that ever happens here. Cleve Stafford recently took a week-long course that included some significant instructions about how to prepare for an active attack in a public place. We are currently evaluating the materials he received with other available information so we can formulate a plan for the security of our members. We are going to press forward with this and we will share the results with the congregation as soon as we can. The chances are miniscule that an incident like this will happen here, but even with a miniscule chance, we want to be prepared.
It is hard to imagine how awful it must be for the two families at West Freeway to lose a loved one like this. When a terrible time of life comes, it is good to remember these words from Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:16-26, “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.