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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I have been brought to tears several times the last few days. Yesterday while working out at the YMCA the television had an interview of the Green family. Their daughter had been shot by a rampaging young man who was obviously very disturbed. The random violence and the arbitrary way which some were wounded and others died boggles the imagination. It also breaks the heart...

The Green family is Catholic. They had a funeral mass yesterday. I hope their faith is consolation. I am sure they will spend the rest of their lives missing this sweet little girl and feeling a gaping hole with her absence. I am also sure they are wondering, "Why?"

Some people will say God has a plan. I would say, "then I guess these people were supposed to die this way because God wanted it so? Does that mean that the shooter was merely doing God's will?" The answer "God's plan" only raises more and more questions.

It brings me back to an experience I had around 1975 as a teenager going to college. I was driving home from classes at Memphis State University. I was driving along and preparing to drive through an intersection and across some railroad tracks. As I approached the intersection my foot came up off the gas. I remember looking at my foot because it seemed to be acting on its own. As I looked back up, a car ran the stop sign and flew through the intersection at a high rate of speed. My first thought was that God had saved my life. I could not see any other explanation for the strange event. My next thought was why would God do that? In a world full of people much better than me and more deserving of mercy, why would God do it for me?  I honestly wondered if it was blasphemous to think He had saved me, or blasphemous to doubt it. I did thank Him for the mercy, but I also wondered if I was reading too much into the event.

There are people who were at the Tucson event who probably feel like God intervened to spare them. I cannot argue against that. I do not think that those who fell were any worse or less deserving of mercy than those who survived. Yet those who survive will have their own burdens to carry. I have little doubt that some people will be emotionally scarred. Some will suffer from what is called 'survivors guilt.' Some will make a commitment to be better people. Others might see the world as too dangerous and lose their will to do much of anything. There is no way to know how each person will be affected for good and ill.

There is no easy answer. There is no simple explanation. Some will turn to God while others turn away.

What I do know is we are responsible for the choices we make. I am not sure why I am here, thirty five years after my own brush with death. I do not know why I was spared in such a remarkable way and why others are not the recipients of a similar intervention. What I do know is I am accountable for the time I have. The little girl made her witness to a weary world at the cost of her life. Millions of people have heard her. She was a child of faith and love and now we know about her because she was killed. She has now entered into the presence of God, I believe. She is in a new place and experiencing new things. I pray that she, her family and all those touched by this (or any other tragedy) will decide to turn to God. To love, worship and serve Him, now and always. Not just to get answers or comfort, but because He is worthy.

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