My family had a wonderful time at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday. We saw lots of animals, ate ridiculous food (like a deep-fried Klondike Bar), and I even introduced my son to the joys of the midway rides. He rode the caterpillar roller coaster like a champ. The kid is fearless!
But tragedy struck the fair Saturday night when a huge gust of wind caused the rigging of the outdoor stage to collapse after Sara Bareilles' performance and just before Sugarland's performance. Over 40 people were injured; five have died. I'm praying for the families of those killed and injured, and I hope you'll join me in continuing to pray for them.
Something interesting happens after events like this. You start to think, "What if I'd been there?" Would you have been helping to lift the scaffolding off of those trapped? Would you have run out as quickly as possible? Or would you have been frozen with fear and just sat crying?
I don't think any of these responses is better than another. It's hard to put ourselves in those shoes. If my son had been with me, you'd bet I'd have gotten him out of there as soon as possible. If it were just me and my husband, we'd have probably stayed to help. I'm not sure the crying would have happened until later. It all depends. And I wasn't there, so I'll never know.
Another question people ponder is, "Now what?" I really wanted to go to the Janet Jackson concert at the fair this coming Wednesday. I don't have tickets, but, provided it's not cancelled, would I still have gone? Will this event stick in my mind any time I go to a concert, ever? Odds are, it can't happen again, right?
This thinking is kind of lousy, actually. It's based in fear.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8
Fear, in any incarnation, isn't any of these things. As someone who struggles with fear and anxiety quite a bit, this verse helps me get fearful thinking out of my mind. If I thought of all the dangers our world presents, I may never leave the house. An alarmist attitude would keep me from living my life to the fullest, living to bring glory to God. No one who lives in light of the cross needs to live in fear; our fate is assured. My mind should be on higher things while I'm here, not fear.
So I'm sure I'll go to other concerts; I love music. I'm sure I'll be back at the fair again next year; it's the highlight of our summer. And I hope my son continues to be fearless, even if it means I have to ride the caterpillar roller coaster again and again. Despite his (typically) fearful mama, I want him to know that life is not about living in fear; it's about living in joy.
Again, I ask you to keep in prayer anyone associated with Saturday's tragedy. Pray for hope, pray for comfort, pray for healing, and pray for hearts free from fear.