The pointless, futile death of an unarmed Sydney woman in Minneapolis just over a week ago has stunned many people. Local police opened fire on Justine Damond after responding to a call to investigate a possible assault. Such incidents simply don’t make sense.
Why Justine died such a violent, premature death is something we may never know. But the fact remains, an innocent life has been taken. A life that had so much potential has been randomly and brutally snuffed out.
On 17th July 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All those on board – 298 people (including 38 Australians) perished. A Dutch-led investigation found the plane had been targeted by a missile brought across the border from Russia.
Last Monday, on the third anniversary of this tragedy, a garden was dedicated to the memory of all those who died on MH17. Located near Schiphol Airport on the outskirts of Amsterdam, 298 trees were planted in the shape of a green ribbon to remember those who were lost.
These tragic events show life can be a gamble. We are all vulnerable to things that can seriously harm us. Yet we have little or no control over them.
Last Tuesday I shared Psalm 121 with people during Mid-Week Communion. This Psalm speaks about the strength, the perseverance and the faithfulness of God. Here God is our strength. God is our hope. God is our future.
In a world that can be so unpredictable, so random and so cruel, the scriptures bear witness to a God who is truly committed to each and every one of us.
For, God can’t be moved, God can’t be de-railed, God can’t be thwarted. While shocking, things happen, God is always there to weep with us. God is always there to hold us. God is always there to love us.
Humankind in all its frailty, its stupidity, its malice and evil, never has the last say!
Terrible things happen to good people – they may even happen to us. But this is not the end of the story. For, ultimately and most assuredly, God is always there. God does not slumber or sleep.
In every matter of life and in every confrontation with death, God is there. Moreover, in every adventure, in every challenge, indeed, in every trauma God our Creator, Redeemer and Judge, is there for you.
And, I assure you, in all of this, God does and will have the last word!