The Standard June 2, 2022
For many families the past few weeks have been full of activities from end-of-the-school-year awards days, to special programs to graduations. On Tuesday, May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas the day began with celebration at an awards ceremony. Children smiled and posed for photographs with their honor roll and other certificates. Tragically, a few hours later the joy turned to horror as the unthinkable happened. A local 18-year-old entered the school and began shooting. The massacre resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers. On Thursday the husband of one of the slain teachers went to the school and placed red roses at the cross of his high school sweetheart. At home a little later, surrounded by family and friends, he suffered a heart attack and died. The couples’ four children said he died of a broken heart.
As a country we grieve with these families and the community of Uvalde. We understand that there will be a renewed national conversation about what could have been done to prevent this tragedy or make it much less likely, as there should be. As we dissect school security, gun laws and law enforcement protocols, we also must consider the heart and soul of the problem. Why are the hearts and souls of so many young people empty or in chaos? Why do we see astonishing trends amongst young people in our society regarding loneliness and depression? With all of our supposed advancements and innovations, how have mental health problems skyrocketed? Why do so many in our society feels such a sense of disconnectedness or demonstrate a wanton disregard for human life?
Prayer seems like the best response for this moment. We pray for the grief-stricken families and friends in Uvalde, Texas whose lives never will be the same. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for children and young people who ache for a sense of belonging and feeling valuable. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for the Christian community to notice those on the fringes and to engage with them in deeply caring ways. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for our nation, that we could strike the proper balance between individual freedoms and protecting the lives of individuals. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray that around the globe there would be an awakening of us who follow Jesus Christ, that we would see real needs and actively address them with the love that only God can give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to be at work and would be poured out on this hurting world. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46: 1-7)