Knowing what it is like to have a son and only child die suddenly and without a chance to say goodbye, my heart goes out to the family, friends, and wounded from the massacre at Virginia Tech. When I first heard about it, I had a feeling of helplessness. What could I write that would encourage these people. What could I say other than, "I'm sorry." Then I remembered -- I could pray; we could pray.
God has ordained to use our prayers -- to engage His power -- to touch a hurting world. Therefore, I am praying now. Won't you join me?
Dear Heavenly Father, may your name be treated as holy, for you are righteous. You are righteous in every aspect of your being. You are righteous in what you do, and you are righteous in what you permit. I say this, even though I know that you could have prevented the massacre.
In contrast to your righteousness, we are sinners. We are born with a sinful nature, and we sin throughout our lives. Many live as if you do not exist. Your word is treated like a myth, and your commandments continue to be removed from public displays. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," but colleges and universities throughout our nation teach that truth is unknowable. Furthermore, they teach that anyone who claims that the Bible is true and that ultimate truth is knowable only through Jesus is intolerant.
Yet, in spite of our sinfulness, you have been gracious. You have prospered our nation. You have blessed those who love you and those who hate you. More than that, you have provided a way in which we can be reconciled to you through your Son. For those who are trusting in you, you have given us an eternal hope and an eternal future that no gunman can ever take away. And you have taught us to pray.
I pray, first of all, for those who will cry out against you and hate you. I pray that you will bring them to a knowledge of the truth.
I pray for those who have been living their lives carelessly. May this tragedy be a warning to them that they need to be ready to face God at any time.
I pray for those who are wounded, that you will help the doctors to do all that needs to be done so that they will be healed.
I pray for those who are emotionally scarred, that they will find stability through faith in you.
I pray for the unbelieving parents and siblings, that they will seek you.
I pray for believing parents and siblings, that they will grow in a biblical understanding of grief and in the hope that believers have in God. Indeed, I pray that they will learn to lay hold of that experiential comfort that only Christ can give.
And most of all, I pray for the advance of the Gospel, not only on the campus of Virginia Tech, but among all who love this institution. May this tragedy create many opportunities for all kinds of people to share the hope that they have through Jesus Christ. Give your people the words to say. Enlarge their understanding, and bless their efforts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Further, for all of us who seek to reach out to grieving people, please enlarge our understanding of how to reach the lost, and please deepen our comprehension of how to encourage and equip believers to stand firm in their faith.
Finally, I affirm once again, even as you taught me in the context of my own tragedy, that when the worst happens, God is enough. You have been enough, and for that I will thank you forever.
In the name of Jesus,
Home Help for Those Who Grieve Reflections