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Reaching for hope

Praying for the children and families of Robb Elementary in Uvalde

Buckner President and CEO, Albert Reyes, reflects on how we can help find comfort, hope and deliverance of pain after horrific events, like the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. When searching for answers on why evil persists, turning to Jesus during the tragedy can help provide the comfort we seek and point us toward the answers we need as we search for ways we can tangibly help make a difference and find hope in a fallen world. 

What was the first thing you reached for this morning? In the wake of yesterday’s horrific school shooting in Uvalde, you probably reached for your phone to check the latest news. You may have reached for the TV remote or your radio. Maybe the newspaper.

Our collective hearts are shattered again as we hear about the senseless slaughter of 19 school children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. 

This feels especially painful when I think that a pillar of our ministry at Buckner International is to “protect children.” Our mission statement calls us to “follow the example of Jesus by serving vulnerable children.” And while we understand the definition of a vulnerable child for us is one who is at risk in their own home, today we realize all children (and adults) are vulnerable.

Just a few days ago, a racist young man entered a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., shooting and killing 10 Black people. And two shootings in recent days, one in California and one here in Dallas, were racially motivated against Asian Americans.

I think one of the reasons we’re reaching for our phone to read the latest news about Uvalde is that we’re hoping to find answers somewhere in all the news stories. Why would an 18-year-old person do this? Why does this kind of evil persist? What can I do? 

As you reach for answers today, let me suggest you reach for your Bible. Take a few minutes and read some of the Psalms, verses such as Psalm 34:18: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Look at Psalm 23 again, maybe one of the most comforting passages in the Bible. 

Let me suggest that rather than reaching for answers, we reach out to God and ask for comfort as we pray that his grace and mercy touches the lives of dozens of grieving and heartbroken family members of the children and teachers. Let’s focus on them and, in the process, God’s hand of mercy reaches back to each of us. Answers will come in time, but for now, we need comfort and deliverance from pain.

In his book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen writes that too often, people suffer for the wrong reasons. “Many people suffer because of the false supposition on which they have based their lives. That supposition is that there should be no fear or loneliness, no confusion or doubt.” But Nouwen reminds us that “these sufferings can only be dealt with … when they are understood as wounds integral to our human condition.”

As humans, we will feel pain; we will have doubts; we will suffer. But let us never lose hope.

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