Deep in the heart of Texas, there have been so many tears. Imagine the heartbreak of parents who lost their babies and students who lost their teachers in a school shooting in Uvalde. A small community decimated by evil. The grief is heavy.
A week later, the news broke that an escaped convict brutally murdered a grandfather named Mark Collins and his four grandsons. About a decade before me, this man went to my high school and lived a few miles away from me. His grandsons also lived locally. Although we never knew each other, I couldn’t help but notice how many mutual friends we have.
Watching believers, like the Collins family, grieve the most significant loss of their lives challenges all of us who claim the name of Jesus’ followers. Can we follow Him into the darkest valley when we mourn these losses? Are we willing to go near to suffering without offering pointless platitudes to create a comfortable distance?
A Wisdom Psalm
Psalm 112, part of the wisdom collection of psalms, offers guidance on how our lives should be a marked contrast to those who don’t claim our faith.
In light of these tragedies, feeling so close and raw, would my life reflect a difference in a time of profound grief the way the Collins Family has demonstrated? Walk through this psalm, verse by verse, and watch for the Holy Spirit to bring what He has for each of us to mind.
1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! (Psalm 112:1 ESV)
Does my life reflect respectful obedience to God’s commandments? Am I focused on following the commandments or busy looking for loopholes?
2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. (Psalm 112:2 ESV)
What is my relationship like with those closest to me? Do my family members see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in me when no one else is around? Do I seek to be a blessing to my children and grandchildren?
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 112:3 ESV)
How do I manage what God has entrusted to me? Is fear or faith my rudder?
4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. (Psalm 112:4 ESV)
Do I seek God’s light to show me His ways and behaviors in dark seasons? Am I living as an image of His grace, mercy, and righteousness? As times get darker, can the reflection of Christ grow brighter?
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. (Psalm 112:5 ESV)
Am I a kind and generous giver? Do I keep my hands open, or do I grab onto anything I receive? Am I storing up treasures that I don’t need? Does my life show one who tries to live above and beyond the minimum requirement to follow the law?
6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. (Psalm 112:6 ESV)
Can I stand for what is right and speak out about what is true? Can I trust God for the results and not depend on earthly affirmations?
7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7 ESV)
Can I hold company with peace when sad reports come my way? On this side of heaven, there will be more days of loss and violence. We live in a broken world. Will my heart be so saturated by the truth of God’s word that trust flows out abundantly?
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. (Psalm 112:8 ESV)
Can I remain steadfast? Can I avoid allowing fear to bully me into regret? Fear has gained a solid foothold in recent years. What is an antidote? One way to counter fear’s narrative is to tell the story of God’s generosity in our lives.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. (Psalm 112:9 ESV)
Can I remember in seasons of scarcity that all I have is a gift from God? Can I release all I have stored up without holding back because I know He will provide again and again for me? God is generous, and he calls me to the same.
10 The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish! (Psalm 112:10 ESV)
This verse was the one that grabbed my heart. Do all the wicked people’s desires perish? At the moment, it doesn’t seem that way. Instead, it feels like the wicked won.
Can I trust you, Lord, to right the wrongs, bring justice, and settle all accounts? Can you strengthen me to love harder and show mercy in a world where the wicked sometimes win temporary battles? Help me to know that you won the war.
I read the obituary of one of the little boys who perished with his grandfather. He had been baptized just over a year ago.
“On June 2nd, 2022, Bryson Duncan Collins ran into the arms of Jesus at the age of 11.”
Lord, may this be said of each of us. So then, when wickedness comes our way, may we all run into the arms of Jesus. . And it is in His precious name we pray, Amen.