Words of Hope and Healing After Sutherland Springs

BY JACK RICCARDI

As I often point out, my KTSA talk host colleagues are a preacher and a poet, so I can’t compete.

But the shooting at Sutherland Springs put me in mind of two moments in our nation’s history, moments we as Americans came through with sadness, steadfastness and, ultimately victory.

The first was the Civil War Battle of Shiloh in April, 1862.

One of the big early tests for a young general by the name of U.S. Grant, Shiloh was a bloodbath that made world headlines. No one had ever seen a casualty count like it. More Union and Confederate troops were killed and injured during those two days than in all of America’s previous wars…combined.

Although it prolonged the war, it stiffened Grant’s (and the Union’s) resolve for winning it.

Then, of course, days like November 5, 2017 summon memories of the attack on our nation of Sept. 11, 2001.

Like Sutherland Springs, that day robbed us of innocence, and left us without words to convey our grief, shock and anger.

A few days after the attack, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Rev. Billy Graham stood at the pulpit like a mighty oak and said:

“But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking. You may even be angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands these feelings that you may have.

“First, we are reminded of the mystery and reality of evil. I have been asked hundreds of times why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I do not know the answer. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and that He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.

“The Bible says God is not the Author of evil. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 the Bible talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

“The lesson of this event is not only about the mystery of iniquity and evil, but, second, it’s a lesson about our need for each other.

“There also is hope for the future because of God’s promises. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for heaven and the life to come. And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven now. And they wouldn’t want to come back. It’s so glorious and so wonderful. That is the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart.

“This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we too will be called into eternity. I doubt if those people who got on those planes or who walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon on Tuesday thought that it would be the last day of their lives. And that’s why we each must face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will.

“My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us and that as we trust in Him we will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us.”

Amen.

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