I knew about it before it even made the local news because I had a child who attended the same public high school that the deceased had attended. Word travels quickly in the era of digital, social media.
There were witnesses, but before anything could be done to triage or patch the wounds, it was determined to be too late.
But much spiritual and emotional triage work remained, beginning in my own home. My children didn’t know these two personally, but they knew many who did. And among that peer set (and their parents) there was considerable upset.
There were so many questions. Why? How? Didn’t anyone know? Couldn’t anyone have done anything to stop this? So many fears. So much anger over the unfairness to the female victim. Hatred directed toward the shooter. Many vented openly in conversations and through social media. Others quietly brooded over questions that have no answers and allow for no closure. Some coped by attending vigils and raising funds. Others sought guidance from counselors and teachers and clergy.
The best “coping mechanism?” It’s a paraphrase of Jesus’ encouragement to his disciples, “Watch and pray.” Here, “Patch and pray.” Stop the spiritual and emotional bleeding with the comfort of God’s Word. Healing will not be instantaneous. Unseen wounds and scars will remain. But faith finds strength and comfort and purpose and healing only in the loving arms of Jesus. Patch and pray, and continue to apply God’s Word. Point people to what God has done for them in Holy Baptism. Point them to the endless personal promises God makes in his Word.
This doesn’t sound like much. In fact, it’s all that can be done at such a time. But it’s all that needs to be done. And it must be done, for the sake of precious souls who are hurting, and need healing.
King David knew this well, and we find comfort in his words:
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
(Psalm 62:5-8 EHV))
God keep you safe in his care,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand