I find myself more profoundly affected by the events at VT than I would have reckoned I'd be.
After hearing the news, I found myself burdened with prayer that evening, and have shed so many tears. Like many others around me, it was when they began showing the faces of the victims that my mind first began grasping the magnitude of what happened. My Lord, I know that if my heart is so heavy, Yours is even more so.
Several years ago, my husband and I lost his youngest brother and one of my best friends, who was a senior in college at the time without warning and without explanation. He wasn't gunned down, he simply felt ill and faint of breath and then a few hours later, crashed in the ER and went to be with our Lord. I remember the shock, and then the chaos that ensued as we made arrangements, took phone calls, and tried to sleep. What surprised me was that the hardest part of the whole thing came the day after the funeral. All the friends and visitors who had come in to honor his memory had left, and it was just us in the family. We were seated at a local buffet, and I glanced at the empty chair across from me, and it hit me ~ that was his chair ~ and his chair was empty. I was in the bathroom at Ryan's for about 20 minutes trying to pull myself together. Trying to redefine what will be 'normal' without the loved one that you lost turned out to be the greatest test of the strength of my heart. The Lord truly saw us through those tough times, and now the pain is less.
I will continue to pray for the families of all of those who fell on Monday. I believe that the Lord will turn this tragedy, something that the devil himself intended for harm and destruction, into something that will be unto the glory of His kingdom. At my young brother-in-law's funeral, a young man made the decision to turn his heart to the Lord, something that big D would have thought was totally cool, for he loved the Lord with all of his heart. As memorial services are planned and funerals are arranged, I pray that those who do not yet know the saving grace of our heavenly father will come to the realization that His love is greater, and stronger, and more necessary than the very air that we breathe.
Father, be a comfort to them. Let Your love saturate the VT families and be their fortress of strength, their high tower, their refuge and their strength.