In the moment when we hear horrific news, the hands seem to fall off the clock. Everything that seemed important stops. In those moments I’ve often chosen to turn my eyes away with a conciliatory “oh that’s awful,” in order to hastily get the clock working again. As if to say, “things must keep moving.” But that is not the way the Master teaches me to enter into other people’s pain.
Today when I heard about the massacre at Virginia Tech, I was tempted to keep gawking at the TV News. I thought of friends I have at nearbye Virginia schools like JMU and UVA, and imagined how many friends they have at Tech. But the News is so terribly cyclical and fear-inducing. And my imagination is often fruitless.
Somehow, in a moment of grace, I walked away from the TV and let my own hands fall as my knees to pray. (This is not as normal an inclination as I wish.) There were lots of “I don’t know”‘s that I stammered, as I tried praying through a certain Psalm. And I asked that as people grieve and mourn and wail, that they’d do so turning towards God, rather than away from Him. I prayed that they’d realize how much He can handle our difficult questions, and that He won’t turn us away. But I mostly prayed for restoration, and for the hard work of forgiveness and healing.
I remember the example of the forgiving legacy of the Amish, and so have a measure of hope for the Tech family.
(Photo: “Walk a Timeless Warning” by PrASanGaM.)