There were two unimaginable tragedies prevalent in the news today. A school shooting in Connecticut and 22 children were stabbed in China. I find it so difficult to respond to these situations in a way that can even begin to embrace the scope and magnitude of what people are feeling. What can I do? What can I say? What can I think?
As I sit here, writing, listening to the little rumblings of my two children in their beds I can’t go to gratitude for their safety because that feels dishonoring of the grieving families and communities. I can’t offer trite platitudes because how could I even imagine what their new reality looks like? The reality of loss, pain, murder, violation, hopes and peace destroyed. There are no words that I can speak that would be anything other than uninformed and bumbling lip-service.
All I can offer is prayer. But this too seems to have lost its meaning in our culture. Prayer offered when you don’t believe in anyone or anything that you could pray too. Prayer offered as a way of covering up our inability to say anything. I find myself almost apologetically offering my prayers on someone’s behalf. But that’s my failing. That’s my allowing culture to dictate what I think and feel about the power of prayer.
There is not better gift that I can offer to someone in this situation than prayer. Prayer to the only One in the universe who is able to bring peace and hope and sense to the torn, broken, and senseless. Prayer on another’s behalf as they sit in life-torn silence. Prayer for those whose throats are closed with grief, who don’t have another word to say or prayer to offer.
I may not know them, these people for whom I’m praying, but I do know my God. I know his heart bleeds over these tragedies in a way that we cannot even fathom. That he sees people who feel broken and lost and alone in their grief. That his comfort can offer them something that nothing else can. That he broods over them in their darkness and sends out threads of life and comfort and eventually, hope.
My prayer may seem inadequate to this situation but God is not. He is present and moving in this situation. He is moving in the courage of adults who give everything to protect the children under their care. In the stories of human love and courage we hear we can get a glimpse of his face and his love. My prayers are offered up to One who loves each of us beyond imagining and whose power and mercy has not left us in this place and on this day.
My prayers are with those who grieve today. My thanks go to those who showed great courage. On your behalf I pray, hoping that my voice will intercede for you where you cannot speak. And my prayers are lifted to the One who is able to speak into the unimaginable and do unimaginably great things.
Lord, hear our prayer.