I’m not going to comment directly on the events of the last 24 hours—much has been written, some very good, and some unhelpful at best. I don’t have a direct connection with anyone from the events yesterday. But in a way, I have much in common with them. Today I look at myself, my heart, my vulnerability. I have no answers apart from my Savior— everything else fails.
Shock, numb, angered, frustrated, and yes, even fearful. That may surprise some; after all, can Christians be fearful? Life is fragile; yesterday’s event could have involved my son or daughter-in-law, or grandkids.
As I experience all this, I find that my heart is tender—to all that can happen and does happen. My heart goes out to all the families who lost loved ones. As the hours have passed, I realize that my primary sense is one of tenderheartedness. My heart is tender right now; I’m emotional—for them. The media may drift off after a few days to another topic, but that won’t happen for these people. We will hear stories of heroism (like Victoria, the teacher who protected many children, but died in the process) and give thanks—and still grieve.
My heart also is tender for the care-givers. That part has really only begun. They need strength, encouragement, support, an outlet. Well done to all who came alongside the hurting. God’s blessings to them as they continue.
While we as a group of people grieve for all who suffer because of this, I also realize that grief is personal. And yet, there is a shared-ness of grief that is critical. In Psalm 34:18 we read:
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God is not indifferent to those who are crushed in spirit. It may not seem like it for some right now. But I cling to what my God has said and demonstrated.
In Isaiah 53:4 we read:
He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows,
God is not indifferent to suffering, to our suffering, to our sorrows, our pains, our heartaches. His Servant, His Son, Jesus, shared in that suffering and sorrows. He even took them upon himself. In the process He truly understands the burdens, the heartache, the agony. And thus, Jesus is the premier person who is tenderhearted.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, this is where I come to being tenderhearted at this moment. And I realize I have to also guard my heart, guard what I say, guard what I think. This does not mean I am indifferent, rather the opposite. I know what I have experienced in the past and how that shapes me, how that has brought me to brokenness, failure, disappointment, despair. But I know the God who was there when it seemed like I was alone, abandoned, in agony.
My tenderheartedness is entirely through God’s grace. Today I need that most of all. Maybe you do as well? Tomorrow I will hear God’s Word spoken to me, I receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, who in tenderheartedness died that I might live. I pray in response to that kind of God, who loves, who is tenderhearted, who surrounds me with love when I most desperately need it. There is my hope, my strength, and my life.