By Pastor Bryan Scott

The reality of the evil of this world is overwhelming for us as adults. For a child, the horrors are too much for them to bear. But the gravity of the largest mass killing in modern US history on October 1st, prompted Becca and me to share with our oldest two children about Las Vegas. As we watched our children’s demeanors change as they began to grasp the gruesomeness of what transpired, our hearts broke all over again for the victims, their families, the city of Las Vegas, and our nation. Our daughter broke down into inconsolable tears, and our son’s countenance and spirit was visibly crushed by hearing of this atrocity. In processing this with our kids, our only recourse as a family was to turn to God and pray. To ask for God’s healing for those currently suffering, and for His protection for us all. And if truth be told, prayer is the best response for all of us at a time like this.

Anger, sadness, and disgust are among the cocktail of emotions we have all embodied in the wake of yet another mass shooting this week. Our hearts break for the victims in Las Vegas and their families from around the country. Simultaneously we have questions and fears about what kind of world we are living in, particularly given the unpredictable and virtually unstoppable nature of random, ‘lone-wolf’ attacks.

The backdrop of this week’s events is a nation already hurting. In recent memory are natural disasters, racial division, political dissonance, and a public debate over the appropriateness of football players kneeling during the National Anthem. The acute pain of Las Vegas overshadows the deep division running through this country. Soon enough, this recent tragedy will give way to partisan bantering that will once again remind us of our polarized status on an issue such as gun control.

How should the church respond to all of this? There are many things that we can and should do, but the first among them is to pray. Jesus calls His people, “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), and the Apostle Paul said that “the church of the living God” is “a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Our nation needs light in the midst of darkness, and needs truth in the midst of confusion. Our ability as God’s people to offer light and truth stems directly from prayer and the Word of God. Without prayer and God’s Word we really have nothing to offer our nation in a time of need. They are not the only things we can do for our nation, but without them we cannot expect anything else we do to have staying power.