I don’t expect this to be anything particularly profound but I felt that I had to write something about the recent event that has forever changed New Zealand.
I understand that no one is ever prepared for a tragedy and a common refrain is “I never thought it would happen to me”, but I really feel that New Zealanders are justified in thinking that – it is something that was wholly unexpected and basing on our history, justifiably so!
I couldn’t (and still can’t) believe that something like this had happened in Christchurch – our small, friendly, country that people come to because of the kindness, inclusiveness, and safety that is found here – a safe haven from wars and terrorism, a place where everyone whether man or woman, young or old, of whatever creed, religion, or race are safe and free to live their lives.
I do understand that New Zealand isn’t perfect and have troubling problems with underlying racism but never in my wildest imagining could I have thought that someone ora few someone’s would think it was possibleand acceptable to mount an attack where they gun down dozens of innocent victims in their place of worship.
After Disbelief – Rage
Once the disbelief had subsided,I was somewhatfilled with both sadness and anger, anger that not only had someone been able to perpetrate this grievous evil but that they had thought that it was okay.
I am incensed that there exist in society people who think that white people are better than others, that other people do not deserve the same rights or even the right to life.
That they were able to find other people who thought the same monstrous things and decided to advance their worthless cause that only served to satisfy their twisted, hate filled minds.
Comfort from Unity
One comforting thing that has arisen from the response to this atrocity is how people have come together and risen up with a loud voice to proclaim that what happened was a wound on the very core of the heart of New Zealand and that in the words of our prime minister - “They. Are. Us.”.
Seeing people come together to condemn the violence and hate and reach out to the hurt and suffering Muslim brothers and sisters of our nation has been a much needed balm in this gaping wound in our nation.
What God Has To Say
I cannot talk about a tragedy without quoting some words of comfort and wisdom from our heavenly father who cares about this even with much greater wells of sorrow, anger, and compassion that we can ever imagine.
We can take comfort that even though it seems like evil triumphed on Friday the 15th of March 2019, evil did not get the final word. For as the Psalmist says in Psalm chapter 92, verses 6-7, “Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass, and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.”
And in Romans chapter 12, verse 19, we are encouraged not to seek our own revenge but to trust God for he will avenge the wrongs people have suffered, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
What we can do is to reach out and be the hands and feet of God as he helps our country and our Muslim brothers and sisters to heal. As well as praying to our almighty father and being a friend to talk to for anyone who needs it, we can also contribute to physical needs that arise.
This is what we are encouraged to do in 1 John chapter 3, verses 16-18, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
To conclude these few thoughts, let us take time to come to terms with the immensity of this disaster, to feel angry but not sin, to come together as a community to serve and love one another, and most importantly to dwell – and act on – the precious truths in God’s word.
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrapbooking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.