Bad things happen to good people.
It isn’t God’s will that these bad thing happen but part of God’s providence. There is a distinction there that is small but I find very significant.
If bad things only happened to bad people we would all easily know who’s evil from the good. Or if god stepped in and stopped occurrences of evil it would be force our acceptance of that god. God showing up in a cloud and tossing about lightening bolts is hard to choose to not follow. There would be no question of who was in charge and we would be forced to believe in that all powerful god.
I think of God as a parent. Parents want their kids to do okay and to love them back. We all kind of get around to the idea that the kids have to choose to be okay and love us back for themselves. We can't force real love from them.
God being infinite is infinitely more loving and wise is more aware of this truth than we are. So God is infinitely more motivated to let us, his children, choose to love him by NOT forcing us to do so. In short God keeps us in freedom to choose to love God or reject God because that is how love works. Because someone choose not to love God and their follow human beings doesn't mean God doesn't exist or failed to love those hurt.
So what does this have to do with the topic at hand? Lots. First we get what we can handle or more precisely what we can handle with God’s help. Nobody did anything bad to deserve this. The victims and we as a group, nation or human race are not being punished. It is the result of freedom.
Some simpleton is going to say this was god will. I refuse to accept that the harm done was Gods will. I can try to see that it has to be permitted because the freedom to choose love over hate is God's will. Not that that is easy.
It is real hard to keep that in mind particularly as those wearing religious garb say it the shootings were their god's will for some obscure unrelated behavior and projecting that they are all wise and speaking for god. No. They are just human and so is the rational that God would punish movie fans in Colorado for some others' behavior. People can be capricious like that, an infinitely loving God is not.
Second, we only get what individually and collectively can handle, if we couldn’t, if it was going to break us for sure, we wouldn’t get it. That ain’t saying it is an easy load to bear. It is saying we have an even shot. No more, no less, we are in freedom to choose to love God or not. At time that choice is hard. This is such a time.
Third somehow there is a way to be better for all of it, we have to find that. That is our job and why we are free. We individually and collectively can choose to come out better. I am not so sure that I know what that is. If I figure it out I’ll let you know but it is there someplace. Our gig is to find it and do it.
I am coming to feel that community is more than it seems. We are here to help each other with difficult things and the fact is the real issue is how we let disturbing things get into our heads and hearts. That is about choosing compassion over rage. Compassion for those hurt. Active chosen compassion and love that honors those suffering without offering a trite solutions.
It may be that we are here to really reach out and say, “This is wrong. I will stand by my hurt fellow citizens to help by acting in accordance with what is right.” We can’t change the way an individual acted and thought. We can support each other and in doing so help ourselves to be on a better path.
So let me say that I empathize with every negative emotion we are all facing, I know them first hand. The real spiritual issue is not to let what we experience as the shallow hollow self interest of others turn us to those same harmful motivations.
Stand up for our community. We were put on this path because we can come out of it a better stronger man, woman, father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter. I probably can too. It may well be that by sharing our experience is a way to help us all see what is or real value.
Stand humbled but proud of the choice we each make with the freedom god gives us all . Do so in away that makes us, them and God proud of us. I have faith we can continue to do so.
In the long run - it is how we each react that counts.
Choose to act from love and act.