Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the aftermath of a senseless act...

Shortly after 3:30p.m. yesterday,  I received this text from our youngest daughter, "Shooting at Clackamas.  We are safe, but the mall is being emptied. We are waiting it out and helping people."

For those who may not have seen it on the news, a shooter with an automatic weapon, dressed in black and wearing a white mask, entered the Clackamas Town Center Mall, crowded with approximately 10,000 holiday shoppers and began to shoot into the crowd.  Miraculously, (but devastating for their families), only two people were killed.  The shooter then killed himself.

Clackamas Town Center Mall is about ten minutes south of where we live.  Our youngest daughter took a job at the Starbucks across the street from the mall when she recently moved back to Portland from Kansas City.

It's at times like this, that the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, turns the attention off of himself, and onto the One Who is always good, the One Who only does good, and accuses, "If God is good, why did He allow this to happen?"

The answer is actually a simple one.  God created human beings with a free will.  He didn't create us like robots, forced to do His will.  He created us with the ability to choose, because He desires voluntary lovers, not robots.  With our free will people can love and serve God, love and serve self or listen to the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  It must give satan great satisfaction when someone chooses to obey his evil schemes, and then he turns the table and points his finger at God and blames Him and gets us to blame Him as well.

The choices we make with our will affects those around us.  Yesterday, one man's choice affected thousands of people.

Today, the news coverage is full of the stories of mall employees helping customers to safety, strangers helping other strangers in wheelchairs get out of the mall,  parents picking up their children and running to a safe place with them, employees of Starbucks staying on duty trying their best to calm people and wait with them until police said it was safe for them to go back to the mall to get their cars and belongings, and pastors going to the sheriff's office and volunteering to help and counsel people affected by the shooting.  Today, there are thousands of stories of people choosing to selflessly help others, choosing to do good in the face of gross darkness and evil,  even in the face of danger to themselves.

Today, I pray that we will turn the table on satan's accusations against God.  I pray that we will see the blatant evidence of God's goodness and presence at work and alive in every selfless, kind and loving act that happened at Clackamas Town Center Mall yesterday.

Still following,


  1. I saw your post last night right after reading about it on Yahoo. Such a sad thing to happen. Your words are true. Blaming God is not the answer.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about this terrible tragedy, Elizabeth. I will certainly keep your town and the families affected in my prayers. Your very well articulated perception is so true...we serve only a loving God who wants nothing more than our love and obedience. Someday, the enemy will be conquered - once and for all, and senseless acts like these will be wiped away forever.

  3. It is terrible, I live in Oregon too and it is very scary but we cannot remain scared. We continue to pray for the families who lost loved ones and for the one remaining in the hospital. Also PRAY for the officers it really does affect them. My son is one and even though they are professional and they are amazing they are still people with feelings.

  4. These moments are so sad and yet so surprising in the strength of all who step up. Thankful your daughter is okay.
    Catherine Denton

  5. I saw that story on the news last night. It is so alarming that a random person would do such a horrible act, but God, as you've so eloquently pointed out here, is not the author of this tragedy. He gives us that free-will that seems a blessing and a curse sometimes. But I'm thankful for His healing presence, even when we may not recognize Him helping. My prayers are with the families of those impacted--including yours, Elizabeth. It's quite a scary thing to think he came relatively close to your daughter. But thanks for bringing perspective to this senseless crime.

  6. Why does God let bad things happen? This question always puzzles me when most of us walking this Earth want God to stay out of our business. This horrible, senseless, devastating act just shows us how much we need God. Thanks for sharing the love along with the hate. :)

  7. Praise the Lord for keeping your daughter and so many others safe from harm!
    I agree with you completely.
    God is glorified and shows Himself merciful even in such tragic circumstances.
    I pray that the people affected by this awful act will heal quickly, and still find peace and joy in this holy season.
    My heart goes out to all the families who have lost their loved ones!

  8. Glad your daughter is safe, so sad when this happens.

  9. I agree with you 100 percent. God has a reason for all things, 'thy will be done'. There are just so many hapless souls that don't know God. Blessings Paula Lusk

  10. I loved that these words came from someone so close to the situation. Lovely, poignant words. Stopping by from IP.

  11. Thoughts of many as I saw this on the news. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  12. When I heard the news, I praised God that his gun jammed. When one thinks of what could have happened, one miracle is that God did not allow more people to be killed or injured by this man. How frightening to have loved ones so close to the tragedy. Thank you for writing about this and for your wise words.

  13. One of the things I pray when I hear about an incident like this is that the Lord would give boldness to His followers who are nearby . . . along with sensitivity and wisdom. "We are waiting it out and helping people" is an answer to that prayer. What Satan means for evil, God turns to good. Praise God.

  14. So glad your daughter is safe, and praying for comfort for those who lost loved ones, and for God to redeem the situation for good...Thank you, Elizabeth, for pointing to the good and for how we should not blame God.

  15. I'm so glad I read this, Elizabeth. Will you please visit my friend Ashley, here?

  16. Elizabeth, I tried to comment on this post last week, but was unable to get my reply to come through. I wanted to thank you for your words here. They brought comfort and reminded me of what's true in the midst of this love-starved, hate-filled world. Especially this:
    "Today, I pray that we will turn the table on satan's accusations against God. I pray that we will see the blatant evidence of God's goodness and presence at work and alive in every selfless, kind and loving act that happened at Clackamas Town Center Mall yesterday."


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