Collide & Prayers for Sandy Hook

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

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Do you ever have those moments where you feel- even in the simplest ways- that this life collides with the eternal?  It happens in those moments of sadness or grief, when something whittles its way into the darkness and begins to cast a shadow, ever so slight.  It may take you a few moments to realize it, but those shadows are not a part of the darkness... how could they be?  For darkness is just black upon black upon black.  Shadows indicate the presence of something greater... light.  And its in those moments, where shadows dance around us- scary as they may seem- that we begin to hope again.

Randomly, I was listening to this rendition of a Matt Wertz song, "I Will Not Take My Love Away."  In the video below, the girls singing, Mia & Jenna are from Sean and I's youth group when we were minsitering in North Carolina.  I love these girls so much... there are 5 sisters in their family, and each is beautifully unique in her own way.  So when I saw that for Christmas, they gave their mom a CD of songs they'd recorded, I was in awe of the beauty of their giftings.  Go ahead and play it through now...

I had this song playing in the background as I went on to my usual evening round-ups of internet hopping.  Gmail. (nothing new)  Google Reader. (Can wait til another day) Weather Channel. (Its cold- duh) FoxNews. (Nothing... nothing... wait. Something caught my eye.)

The students, faculty and staff from the unfathomable Sandy Hook shooting are to return to school on Thursday.  I couldn't keep the tears from escaping as I read the news story and thought about all those students and teachers.  Their backpacks and winter coats that they had to leave behind.  How they all must have had to get new coats, with it being so cold already this winter.  Will they wear their new ones to school on Thursday, or arrive without a coat in anticipation of wearing home the one they had to leave behind that day?  I thought of the teachers as they were preparing their "new" classrooms in a different location.  How they could have never fathomed that they'd be setting up a whole new classroom in the middle of the year, and certainly not under such circumstances.  And does it still seem so surreal to them?  I thought about the police officers who will be at the school to greet the students on Thursday.  All in a valiant effort to make innocents feel comfortable where they already should be safest, but knowing full well that going to school is now their greatest fear.  I thought about the parents as they will put their children on buses Thursday.  Before December 14th, was there ever a doubt in their minds they'd not see their children for supper?  And now, the countless fears and concerns that will certainly consume their every thought on Thursday.  And then, as a mother who has lost a child, my mind wandered to those parents who no longer have children to put on the bus on Thursday.  Who are still desperately seeking a way to begin packing up dressers of clothes and boxes of toys that once belonged to their baby.  Grappling with what to do with the still-unopened presents under their soon-to-be-taken-down Christmas trees with their baby's name on them.  Their baby who got on the bus December 14th, but never came home.  

As my mind had blocked out all exterior noise while going THERE (Real Housewives on TV, clothes in the washer, Mia & Jenna's song on replay) the angel voices of the Wesner girls suddenly came off of my mind-mute and rang loud & clear:  

I will not take my love away
When praises cease and seasons change.
The whole world turns the other way,
I will not take my love away.

I will not leave you all alone.
When striving leads you far from home
And there's no yield for what you've sown.
I will not leave you all alone.

I will give you what you need
In plenty or in poverty.
Forever, always, look to me
And I will give you what you need.

I will not take my love away.

Oh, Lord.  You are never far.  Even in the most desperate, darkest hour.  You are near.  (Psalm 145:18, 119:151) Be near to the students of Sandy Hook on Thursday.  Give them courage (Psalm 27:1, Deuteronomy 3:16) as they pass through foreign doors to begin a new chapter in their healing journey. (Isaiah 43:19)  Be ever near to the parents who have lost their children, (and children who lost their parents) whose hearts feel broken, cold, empty, lost, betrayed (Psalm 34:18, 46:1).  Speak your truths to those hearts in supernatural ways, when words cannot escape their lips to even cry out your name. (Romans 8:26) Speak your truths to their souls that they may feel your love. (John 3:16, Psalm 38:9) Know your presence. (Isaiah 41:10)  Find release from fear. (1 John 4:18)  Seek your shelter and cry out for your healing. (Psalm 91:4)  Protect their feet from wandering far from you (1 Peter 2:25), draw them close to your heart.  In the darkness of their loss & grief, may they forever, always look to you (Psalm 34:5).  May they come to know you as the God of LIGHT (John 8:12) who brings the HOPE (Romans 15:13) of shadows (Psalm 91:1) into the darkest of places. (John 16:33)  

I believe in the power of prayer and in the incredible power of praying through Scripture.  Will you pray this prayer & Scriptures with me in the next few days?  I've made links to the verses I've refenced for easy viewing, but looking it up in your own Bible is even better... no doubt you will find hours of verses to pray there.  Pray with me for these families, and invite your friends and your own family members to pray with you. That God will be glorified, that hearts will begin to heal and that families will look to Christ for HOPE.  Matthew Henry wrote, "When death comes into a family, it ought to be improved."  I had to think about that for a long time after I heard it.  Since death inevitably changes a family, what if the family changed for the better?  Not right away, of course, but eventually, when the pain receds and hope lifts its head once more?  What if grace shone through their hearts where once only darkness reigned?  Pray with me for the families of Sandy Hook students, parents & teachers that as they are learning to live in their "new normal," hope will indeed lifts its head, and they will be filled with the longing of Christ to change for Something Better.  

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