I hate watching the news. I just can’t handle the burden of negativity that streams through the speakers and straight into my heart. And today is no exception.
After the initial shock, and lots of prayers, my mind went straight back to 10/10/10… the day Ryan ran the Chicago marathon. That day marked the culmination of a long season of dedication, discipline, and training. It was the main event… a really big deal. We made a weekend out of it as a family. We stayed in a nice hotel downtown, and worked out a detailed strategy for race day. My job (aside from not going into labor) was to be at the right place at the right time to help Ryan replenish his nutritional supplies. Our plan went accordingly, and Ryder enjoyed watching DVD’s in the stroller, and cheering with the crowd. Ryan was actually running on a broken toe, which played the lead role in substantially lengthening his race experience. He didn’t meet his goal time, but he finished! All the planning and pain were so worth it for him, and we were so proud.
Today, thousands of athletes expected to experience the same kind of gratification. They’ve taken countless training runs, eaten carefully planned diets, purchased and practiced in the perfect gear, and spent hours away from their families, and some have even traveled from foreign countries. But many of them won’t cross the finish line. There’s an image stuck in my head from the news footage. One male runner, wearing red. He’s yards from the finish line, and suddenly he crumples into a heap on the asphalt, likely hit by shrapnel from the blast. (note: I have since learned that the man was knocked down due to the shockwaves, and other than a few scrapes, is just fine. See more about him here.)
Can you imagine?
A day that should be a triumphant memory will now be marked by the blood of those who suffered at the hands of a selfish and cowardly person.
There were those on-scene who were anything but selfish and cowardly… the policemen, uniformed soldiers, race volunteers, spectators, and athletes who ran toward the chaos. The nearby residents who welcomed strangers into their homes for a warm cup of soup, a friendly hug, and a phone (from a tweet I saw).
It’s awful to feel so helpless. I know that prayer moves mountains, but in my flesh, it just doesn’t feel sufficient. I feel so guilty for going to sleep in my own bed, in my safe neighborhood, knowing that my family is still complete and unharmed. I know that tomorrow I’ll wake up and carry on just like any other day, and meanwhile, investigators will still search for leads, doctors will still tend to the wounded, and families will still grieve. And there’s not a bloomin’ thing I can do about it… except pray.
“Never stop praying.” [1st Thessalonians 5:17, NLT]
Praying for what?
I don’t really know, to be honest. But God gets it anyway. He comprehends the smallest whispers of our tired souls.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” [Romans 8:26, NLT]
That’s kinda where I am right now. A little numb, and mourning a lot. Mourning, of course, for the loss of life, for the disappointment, for the fear an event like this causes. But also mourning for the state of humanity in general. In the words of a wise, Godly friend of mine, “This world needs Jesus. Plain and simple.”
Evangelizing isn’t really one of my gifts. But there is no doubt in my mind that a belief in, and personal relationship with the one true God is the single most important ingredient missing from the melting pot we call America. You will never hear me claim that simply being a Christ-follower frees a person from judgmental attitudes, hurtful words and actions, or any other sin. It won’t free our world from hate and danger. But He will provide hope when all seems lost… joy when nothing but heartache abounds.
So in the aftermath, may we continue to band together to stand up for good and root out evil. May we cry out to God, for He gets it.
“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” [Psalm 34:17, NLT]
note: this was published the day after being written to insure that in my emotionally messed-up state, i didn’t say something regretful 🙂