The Inland Regional Center (IRC) in San Bernardino, where the first shooting happened, is located about five miles from The River (the church I pastor) and is in the middle of a lot of businesses that are very busy this time of year (Costco, Sam’s Club, BestBuy, etc.).
Although the initial shooting was horrific, I praise God for the safety of so many others who were very close to the violence.
The IRC is a building familiar to many in our community. Lots of people from the River have been there to receive services for themselves or loved ones with disabilities. My wife has been in the room where the shooting happened for a number of meetings over the years.
The home of the couple who did the shootings is in Redlands itself. In fact, the apartment that was raided by the SWAT team is one-half mile from the school where our son and daughter attend. I drive past it every day. The school was on lockdown and police were on scene to provide safety to the students.
Throughout the day there were overhead shots of the crime scenes from helicopters. Several law enforcement members who are part of The River community were pictured in those shots in the course of their duties. I praise God for their safety.
Because we live in Southern California, our city has been covered with law enforcement and media helicopters. There are nine in the air above Redlands as I write this. This is certainly disconcerting for folks, especially small children who sense the fear of the adults in their lives.
In all this, we cling to the hope, love and grace of Jesus Christ. This evil is real and has power to harm, kill and promote fear. But our God reigns and His perfect love drives out the power of sin and darkness. We trust in that in the middle of all the craziness.
Las week, our church gathered to pray. Please join us wherever you might be in petitioning God for peace, an end to violence, and that in the darkness, the light of Christ shines brightly that others might see Him and move into His light.
Hug those close to you a little tighter today friends.