Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 (NRSV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NRSV)
Becky Virgalla lives in Connecticut. On December 14. 2012, a man forced his way into Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, shooting and killing 20 first-graders and six adults. Becky survived that massacre, but she saw and heard things that day that no one should ever have to experience.
At church, friends would ask her, "How can I help?" Becky would answer, "Please pray for me because I can't." Becky was angry with God, wondering, How could it be God's will for these children to be killed? Why was I spared at age 60? It made no sense. Becky's faith was tested, and she struggled greatly.
A year later, Becky and her husband participated in a book study at church. The discussion focused on understanding God's will and trusting God's ways. The study brought Becky great clarity because it helped her to realize that it wasn't God's will for 26 people to die. Rather, our loving God has given us all free will, and sin often prevails. Becky no longer blamed God. She understood that pure evil entered the school that day.
Becky couldn't have come this far in her trauma journey without her family, her friends, and her faith in our loving God. Since that horrific day, Becky has learned how resilient God has made us. She has also learned never to take life for granted.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to be kinder, gentler, more connected to one another. Surround us with your love, in Jesus' name. Amen.