In the Wake of Another Tragedy

by Andy Hoffman

Do you ever have those moments when you hesitate, even just for a moment, before you turn on the television after a tragedy?

Me too.

Yesterday, I was brought out of my heavy, yet peaceful, slumber to Andrea telling me there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas. The only response I remember muttering was, “Ugh, are you serious?” Unfortunately, she was, and the news for the rest of the day tried to grapple with what had just happened. Another shooting. Another mass tragedy. More senseless violence. More evil proving itself in the world. Another day of terrible news. Even as I write that I’m looking over my words; ‘another’ and ‘more’. What in the world is going on?! I have the responsibility of putting together our church’s sermon intro videos each week. Currently, we are in a study of Living Hope, which is a study of the letter of 1st Peter. The video weekly has the bad news of the week only to be contrasted at the end with the hope we have in Christ. I knew from the onset that there would be bad news to fill the videos; I never thought it would be this easy to find the headlines though. It seems that as we started this study the news has been filled with everything; hurricanes, shootings, hurricanes, earthquakes, human rights violations, hurricanes, the threat of nuclear North Korea, international civil unrest, and did I mention hurricanes?

What really made my head spin yesterday wasn’t the Las Vegas headline, though. Don’t get me wrong, I am sickened and heartbroken for them, but what made my eyes and heart open yesterday was my arrival at home. When I walked in the door, almost immediately I had two little boys screaming, “Daddy!” and wanting my attention. The television was already on the national news and I sat on the couch with the tragedy in the background while my boys used me as a human beanbag. Smiles and screams mixed. My reality at the moment and the news didn’t. It was an almost unreal juxtaposition in my life. The boys didn’t know what was happening in the world, nor could they understand it. All they knew was daddy was home. All they knew, at least for that moment, was all was right in their world.

I have made it no secret that when I became a father I saw much of the relationship between mankind and God much differently and I am in no way trying to down play a tragedy. I do wonder, however, when did I become too grown for God as my Abba, Father? When did I go from happy little boy in the arms of my father to the ‘man’ that watches the news in disbelief and horror? My boys taught me a life lesson yesterday; there is comfort in the arms of the Father. I need to become more like them in my relationship with my heavenly Father. Even in the midst of trial, disbelief, tragedy, whatever it is, I need to put my dependence into the hands of my father and allow my awe of Him to make me realize that even in the midst of those things I am held in safety.

Currently, my spotify playlist is going strong and the song Rise by Housefires is playing. “Heaven is all around us” is being repeated. Well, it doesn’t feel that way – especially after the current news. Abba, Father, allow me to see your goodness even in the midst of evil. Allow me to be so in awe of you that I know that I can take on the heart of Jesus when He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Allow me to be about giving the life-blood of the Gospel to a dead and dying world. Allow me to rest in your infinite goodness.

Until the return of Christ, allow us to pray for those affected in all the current atrocities and find a practical way to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

About The Author

Andy Hoffman

Andy Hoffman, Pastor of Students

Andrew and Andrea live in the Grafton area of York County and have two sons, Isaac & Trevor, with a daughter on the way in December. Andy began serving Bethel in July of 2012. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education and Biblical Counseling. His passion is to see young people become obedient followers of Christ, exemplifying Him in all their ways.