Our town is in mourning. Four teens , all friends and athletes, were returning from a birthday party when a dark road, a big tree and excessive speed ended their ride and futures. A fifth teen lies in the hospital – his life hanging in the balance.
Friends of the victims called the local parish and organized a memorial service. “It’s cathartic because you have to name it,” said Pastor James Mazzone. “You have to put it out there. You have to say, I’m grieving, I’m angry maybe, I’m confused. And when you do that when you share it with other people, it makes it easier.”
A local evangelical church also held a community service to pray for the families, the 5th young man who is in critical care and all the first responders. They offered their Pastoral and counseling staff to be at the high school to meet with grieving students. A parent group has organized a go fund me page and gathered people to make ribbons to show support as a town for the families.
One of the definitions of community is, “a group of people living together in one place, especially one practicing common ownership”. We come together to mourn the loss of promising life, to remember and comfort one another. These boys were “our” kids.
Where do you go when tragedy strikes? What fills the hurting and questioning heart with peace and comfort? Tragic accidents happen – especially this time of year when young people feel invincible and carefree.
The Psalms echo what our hearts feel…
1 O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!2 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed Psalms 61:1-2 (NLT)
Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” 4 My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be….: 5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Psalms 42:3-6 (NLT)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalms 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalms 147:3 (NLT)
I wonder about the young man in the hospital and his family. Their names are being protected from the press. They are grieving too. Since he was the driver, if he recovers from his physical wounds, his life will be forever changed. Will people offer him forgiveness and support? His life matters too.
We cry out “WHY?” Wasn’t God watching? Doesn’t He care?
In the book of Luke we are told that Jesus wept. He wept because His friend Lazarus died. He wept because His friends were so distraught. They said – if you had been here sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died! He cried even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
So, yes dear one. God is watching and His heart is crying out for us to come to Him. Oh how He longs to comfort and restore us. He understands our pain.
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Heb 4:14-16 (NLT)
Jesus promised a gift to those who believe. So come to Him. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (NLT)
Give Them All to Jesus (Chorus)
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus.
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts and broken toys.
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrows into joy.