Megachurch pastor Greg Laurie recently spoke at the memorial service for the youngest victim of the Las Vegas massacre — and several attendees embraced Christianity after hearing his message.
In a Facebook post shared Wednesday, Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, revealed he participated in the memorial service for 20-year-old Angela Gomez, the youngest of 58 people killed when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest festival earlier this month.
“There, sitting before me, were her parents, Steve and Julie; and her siblings, Chad, Jeremy, Tawney, Toni, and Ethan, her boyfriend and the love of her life,” Laurie wrote. “What do you say in circumstances like this? How can I or anyone else explain why an unthinkable tragedy like this happened?”
The pastor said he “did not even try” to answer such questions.
“I told her family and friends and the many who gathered that we should never trade what we don’t know for what we do know,’ he said. “We know God loves Angela and her family. We know that Angela is a Christian and put her faith in Jesus Christ. We know that Angela is in Heaven, and all who know the Lord will see her there one day.”
Laurie said that despite this worst-case scenario, good can come, citing Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
“Not that bad things like this become good things, but rather, despite really bad things happening God can bring good,” he explained. “I told the folks gathered that one of those good things would be them believing in Jesus Christ as Angie did.”
Laurie was joined in the service by Harvest pastors Jeff Lasseigne and Jason Powell — and following the service, they told him that “quite a few folks prayed and asked Jesus to come into their lives.”
“One day, all these questions of ours will be answered,” he asserted. “But until that day, we walk by faith with God, believing this promise: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’ (Revelation 21:4).”
He concluded: “Angie will not be forgotten.”
In an interview with CBN conducted shortly after the October 1 attack, Laurie said that amid such tragedies, it’s important to remember that God is here and in control.
Still, the pastor acknowledged that the question always comes up: Why did God let this happn?
“God allows evil in the world,” he contended. “What this man did was the most evil thing imaginable, to just mow down people with an automatic machine gun who didn’t even know where the fire was coming from, and it’s a horrible thing. But having said that, yes, God allows evil, and bad things happen and quite frankly, not to be a downer, but bad things will always happen.”
It seems like more and more bad things keep happening today, Laurie said, pointing to the recent bout of hurricanes that hit Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and the unrest in North Korea.
These are very unsettling times,” Laurie said, “but here’s what Jesus says: ‘Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You believe in God, believe also in me.”
He continued, “Really what Jesus is saying to us in times like this is, ‘put your trust in me, put your focus on me, and remember that even in the midst of all of these horrible things, God can still bring good.'”