February 2, 2024
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It was another one of those tragic shootings that killed four students (and the shooter) at Marysville High School in Washington state. It shocked everybody. When the identity of the 15-year-old shooter was revealed, it was all the more shocking. Because he wasn't the typical loner, the bullying victim, the outsider. He was the Homecoming prince, a football player, the popular guy. But, as it turns out, there were hints of the anger and anguish in his soul. You could read about it on Facebook and Twitter.
See, social media is the new confessional. That's where he spilled his romantically broken heart, his despair, his rage. Social networks have become the new place to dump the contents of your heart. All the contents of your heart, even the dark stuff. It's a catharsis, but it's not a cure.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Where to go Before the Explosion."
The authorities and talking heads analyzed for a long time that shooting. Teenage angst. Gun violence. Warning signs.
For my account, I found myself asking what we could learn about handling life's shattering moments. Without making tragic choices. Well here's some lessons I think:
First, don't stuff it. Buried pain is a ticking time bomb. A lot of us were raised to believe that our pain and brokenness should be kept inside, hidden behind this "I'm fine" mask. And all the while, this volcano is building inside.
And there's grief, and there's anger, and desperation, and feeling alone - I'll tell you, if you stuff those things they just keep growing. They morph into an emotional monster. Until that emotional monster explodes, doing irreversible damage. Like the eruption at Mt. St. Helen's years ago. The explosion didn't last long. What was blown away is gone forever.
And then, don't store it. Treat the wound before the infection sets in. Talk about it when the wound is fresh. Before it submerges.
And don't take it to someone who's in the same swamp. You say, "but they get me." Well when we're broken, we don't just need someone who gives us sympathy. We need the objectivity of someone who's completely outside our situation. Someone who can help us see the big picture. Because pain distorts reality, convincing us that this wound will never heal. That everything's dark.
But there's never been a winter without a spring. Or a sunset without a sunrise. We need someone with perspective.
And another lesson is to have your "go to" person before your storm hits. When you live in "Tornado Alley," they tell you to "know where your shelter is before there's an emergency." That's a good idea emotionally, too. Decide what wise, objective person you can trust with your deepest, darkest feelings. As soon as they hit.
I'm so grateful I have found my "911" person. He's the one I've been able to trust with feelings I didn't dare tell anyone. He has calmed my frantic soul when nothing else could. He's pointed me to hope when it looked like there wasn't any.
He actually said, "The Lord has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted." The Bible says, "He is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit." That's Jesus. And the more broken I've been, the closer He has seemed.
And as far as having someone who understands? No one has ever been more wounded, more broken than He was. Abandoned. Attacked. Crucified.
Of course, I'm not alone in finding refuge in the open arms of Jesus. So many people have found that, for a very long time, they've accepted His invitation: "Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest." This man who loved you enough to die on a cross for you, who's powerful enough to walk out of His grave and conquer the biggest monster of all - death - He stands ready to come into your life, at your invitation. If you have never had a moment when you began a personal relationship with the savior, where you've told Him, "Jesus, I'm yours." Would you tell Him that today? Get to our website. We've laid out, there, the path where you can be sure you belong to Him. That website's ANewStory.com.
See we're all Humpty Dumpty at times. All the King's horses and all the King's men can't put us together again.
But the King can.