My Stomach Turned: A Las Vegas Response

October 04, 2017 | Chris Payne

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” -Psalm 46:1-3

When I heard the sound this week, I tried to remember the last time I heard it. I knew I had before, but I couldn’t immediately place when and where it was.

I was uncomfortable. My stomach turned.

Certain sounds have a way of carrying you back in time; replaying a scene. Some scenes make you laugh, others make your stomach turn.

When I heard the sound this week, I finally remembered where I heard it last; my stomach turned. The cracking and consistent “pops” took me back to June of 2016. To a field in Montgomery, Alabama. I was in full combat gear that day; it was so hot. The Officer Training School exercise was a mass casualty response.

My job as a chaplain was to comfort and assist those who had been shot and were dying.

When I heard the sound again this week, it was not from the shooting range at Maxwell Air Force Base, but from a concertgoer who was taking a video in Las Vegas. A sound, that should only be heard on a battlefield, was being heard on the famed Las Vegas strip.

Wait, why am I hearing that again?

What am I seeing right now?

How could this be happening?

Why would someone…?

It’s been 3 days of hearing that terrible noise, of seeing the terrible destruction. It makes my stomach turn.

The only place I can put this, the only word I can describe this with is EVIL. Earth giving way, mountains moving and trembling, waters foaming and ROARING evil.

And, the only place I can point to, the only word I can run to with this is Jesus.

Jesus our Refuge.

Jesus our Strength.

Jesus our Help.

We hear the noise of this broken world; a paradise lost because of evil. It shakes us, wakes us, reminds us that it is passing away, soon to be no more.

But we will not fear. Though our stomachs turn, we will not fear. Jesus is with us.


Please join me in praying for all the families and communities that have lost so much this week, and, point someone near you to the refuge we have in Jesus.

Also, here is a link to a verified GoFundMe me page set up to support victims and their families.