How could it happen?

Hungarian mall

Hungarian Mall

What does 12-12-12 mean to you?

Maybe it’s a fun date. Perhaps it’s your wedding day. Your marriage ceremony strategically scheduled to be a reminder of anniversaries. Or it might be the birth of your child guaranteed by a Caesarean section. For some in Oregon, today represents the first day without a loved one. A family member killed in a mall.

Shoppers were on a hunt for deals, unaware of a killer among them.

We watch the TV reports and experience feelings of shock. Our sense of safety is rattled. We find ourselves asking an all-too familiar question, “How could it happen?”

To innocent victims. Without warning. Once again.

Cries of desperation fill our minds: Why? Stop the madness!

Our hearts break for the families of those who lost loved ones. We struggle to console the fears of children who witnessed such horror. While trying to find peace ourselves.

Whoever expects danger? No one goes holiday shopping expecting to be confronted by a mass shooter. Like the thousands of people in the mall that day, many of us go out buying Christmas gifts. Expecting festive and safe stores.

Eventually, a sense of security will be restored. Rational minds will find comfort in the fact that the shooting was a rare incident. Shoppers will return to their carefree strolls through stores. With overspending as their greatest worry.

Some of us however will not have a sense of security. Families who have loved ones with serious mental illness (MI) expect the unexpected. In some cases, even danger is a daily fear.

We can imagine how someone can snap and unleash violence. How could it happen?

We’ll tell you how. We’re often powerless to prevent it. To get our loved one help without being harmed, ourselves.  Some of us face a child who is unstable. But, if he hasn’t proven to be a harm to himself or others, he cannot be committed against his will.

So, we live with uncertainty and anxiety. How can we find peace? We can cling to promises that calm our fears.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you.”   Jeremiah 29:12

You can take action. In your prayers for the victims of the holiday shooting, remember to pray for families who have loved ones with MI.

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