I've been wrestling with so many feelings about the Virginia Tech shootings, so much so that I've been unable to express myself. This came across the e-mail today, and it struck a cord with me--because of its poignancy and because of where it came from. This is from someone who lost a loved one in the shootings. And if we can't trust God through difficult times, we might as well not trust Him at all.
God is still on His throne. When Satan brings the worse out in some people God brings the best out in His people. The Blacksburg Baptist Church bent over backwards to minister to my family last week and from what I can gather they were actively involved in ministering to the entire Blacksburg Community. [Her] funeral was held at Blacksburg Baptist Church last Saturday, April 21. It was a testimony to the life she had lived. We celebrated her life and goodness even as we mourned our loss. I worshipped at Blacksburg Baptist the following Sunday morning. I listened intently as Pastor Tommy McDearis engaged his congregation with the heaviness and tragedy of the week but also with the truth of the scriptures. It was one of the finest sermons I have ever heard.
Pastor McDearis serves as the chaplain for the Blacksburg police department. As such he was probably closer to the actual carnage of the week than most of us ever want to know. Of the 32 victims it became his personal responsibility to tell 20 of the families that their loved one had died. He had seen the pain in their faces, their tears had fallen upon his lapel, he had searched for words, but probably the best he could come up with was "I am sorry." He had ministered to law enforcement personnel, he had fielded questions from the media, he preached my niece’s funeral. With very little sleep he kept putting one foot ahead of the other. Then on Sunday morning his congregation gathered with questions on their mind needing a word from the Lord. This man of God stood and opened his soul to his people. He captured the truth of the scriptures and gave his people, his town, and visitors of many stripes a fresh word from God. I was at the 11:10 service which was the third worship service. As he closed this service he let out a deep breath and simply prayed “Lord, I am so tired”. He wept as he prayed for himself, his congregation, and his city. As I listened I thought - Here is a man who has spent the week walking through the Valley of the Shadow of death, he had looked into the face of evil and peered into the pit of Hell itself – but through it all God’s hand had been upon him. That is a testimony to the power and strength of God. Satan had played his awful hand planting terror into the hearts and minds of all who watched. Darkness came but God’s light still shone through. Sunday morning came – God took a tired messenger and gave him a message of hope, strength, and encouragement.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, what a savior!