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Monday morning I woke to the news of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, 59 dead and more than 500 wounded. In the midst of the horror, pundits on both sides have already begun discussing solutions (and casting blame) for the problem. Do we need more law-enforcement officials? Better health care for the mentally ill? Stricter gun laws? Increased security to protect large venues?Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 7.05.25 PM

They seek an answer to the question we all want answered: "How can we prevent this from happening again?"

Honestly, I'm not sure of the best answers to the societal problems before us. I don't understand what would cause a man to callously take the lives of so many. Why does evil suddenly unleash from a man who seemingly had no motive for such a devastating crime?

In the midst of debating solutions, there's another important question to consider. We live in a world broken by sin, and none cannot escape the reality of death. All earthly solutions we seek cannot solve the ultimate problem: "For as in Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22).  We will continue to face wars and rumors of wars, both from external threats to our country and internal threats among our citizens (Mark 13:7). The devastating effects of the fall will not ultimately be solved until Jesus returns.

Perhaps the more pressing question—the one we don't consider enough—is this one: "How do we live a world where death is a reality and tomorrow an uncertainty?"

Live with an awareness of death.

Satan's first question, "Did God actually say?" was quickly followed by his first outright lie, "You will not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). Eve—the mother of all living—soon experienced the painful reality of death from both sides: she was both the mother of a murderer and the mother of one murdered. Satan's words proved false in the most painful of ways.

Thousands of years later, his lie lingers. We often live as though we're guaranteed a long life, that tomorrow is a certainty. Yet death comes for us all, on a timetable not of our choosing. It's shocking, painful, unwanted, and terrible.

How do we live in light of the truth that death is a reality? We live differently than those around us. We build for eternity, rather than earthly gain. We seek to use our time well. We forgive quickly and keep short accounts. We love extravagantly and self-sacrificially give to others.  An awareness of death helps us focus on what matters in our living.

Live with a right fear.

It's tempting to read news stories like the one in Las Vegas and live in fear. Perhaps you're already considering how to avoid all concerts, malls, and large venues in an attempt to protect yourself and the ones you love. However, Scripture points us toward a different type of fear. Jesus warned, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).

The best protection we can give those we love is to share with them the good news of the gospel. Don't hold back. You have a life-saving message, the only path to true security. Earthly death will come to us all, but eternal life is promised to those who know Jesus (John 17:3).  By fearing the right thing, we live courageous and consequential lives.

Live with a sense of purpose.

Each day we're given has meaning. The fact that our time is limited means we have every reason to seize the day by abounding in the work in the Lord. Resurrection realities empower our living. We're steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because we know that in the Lord our labors are not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). While "the world is passing away along with its desires" we have great hope that "whoever does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17).

Live with a better hope.

I want to find solutions to the problems before us. I'm disturbed my children are growing up practicing lock-down drills in their schools. It's one thing to fear sending your child off to war; it's another thing to fear sending them to school. Yet the broken reality before us forces us to put our hope in something greater than this world.

Psalm 23 reminds us we live in the shadow of death. Its presence looms, threatening our peace and joy. We never know when death will interrupt our daily living. But the psalmist doesn't leave us in despair, he directs us to hopeful living: "I will fear no evil, for you are with me" (Psalm 23:4).

Evil is real and present. But so is our God. Whatever evil we face in this world, he promises to be with us. And one day he'll return, conquering evil and death, redeeming sin and sorrow. He'll usher in a new heaven and new earth where sickness and sighing are no more.

How then do we live? We learn in 1 Peter 1:13: "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Yes, the world is full of much to fear. Yet we can still walk as people full of hope because our Savior's goodness is greater than the evil around us.

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Melissa Kruger

Melissa Kruger is a wife, mom, and the author of The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. She enjoys teaching women the Bible and serves on staff as women’s ministry coordinator at Uptown PCA.

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