We Are Dust
Shootings and bombings. Death and casualties. Sorrow and anger. Confusion and ignorance.
These recent years America has seen its share of tragedy. But in perspective, these singular events, though affecting many, seem rather small compared to say the American Revolution or legalized slavery. During the American Revolution, about 7,000 Americans were killed in battle, approximately 8,000 were wounded, and around 10,000 others died in military camps from disease or exposure. Close to four million men, women, and children were subjected to the American Slave Trade.
Now I do not mean to minimize the horror of those thirty-two shot at Virginia Tech, or the twenty-six at Sandy Hook Elementary, or the three killed at the Boston Marathon bombing. What I mean to add in the midst of yet another tragedy is a sense of wider perspective. Violence and murder entered into this world soon after humans came to exist. In Genesis 4 we learned of Cain killing his very own brother, Abel, because of misguided jealousy.
What I feel we lose sight of is the reality that death is a part of life. We all were born to die. But our difficulty comes when those we love leave “before their time,” or at the hand of evil. Some are fortunate enough to leave this earth old of age and of “natural causes.” Yet that isn’t so for many. It is how we deal with loss and tragedy that reveals a great deal about our own view of life.
Politically speaking, I have a few beliefs on gun control, none of which are awe-inspiring revelations. I believe it is the role of the government to protect our nation. I do not believe it is the role of the government to dictate the lives of the citizens. I believe violence will occur whether guns are legal or not (let’s be serious, murderers are “rule-breakers”). I believe in a democracy, a government by the people for the people.
As you can see by reading my brief list above, there are many “challenges” with my beliefs. Namely, that they are all dependent on people. And I should venture to say that the large majority of these people do not, in fact, have the same beliefs and opinions as I do. (Side note: I used to want to go into politics, but soon realized I would terrible at it. I make a much better missionary than politician.)
I pray for those families affected by the bombing that took place yesterday. I pray for all peoples of all nations encountering tragedy and suffering. And I pray for you, dear reader, that these harsh realities would make you think of eternity. That despite how confusing this chaotic world can be, you would know that there is an everlasting King who longs to spend eternity with you, where there is no more pain. He can bring hope and peace, when no other can.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103)