Saturday, February 14, 2015

A God bigger than terror

Last June, a senseless shooting on the university campus where I work left one innocent student dead and several others wounded. Students, staff, and faculty were deeply affected, and the shocking tragedy drove us to our knees. Through tears of grief we prayed, not only for the victims, but also for the shooter. For mercy. For healing. For God’s presence.

Students pray after a 2014 shooting. (Luke Rutan photo)
God answered our prayers.

Now the peaceful little country of Denmark is rocked by not just one, but two shootings in the capital city. And while the motivations of terrorists surely cannot be compared to those of a campus shooter, the immediate results of these evils are eerily similar.

At this writing, one has been killed, several wounded. And beyond that, the sense of security and safety most Danes enjoy has surely been shattered. City residents, many ordered by police to stay indoors and away from their windows, are shaken to the core. Has something like this happened since the darkest days of World War 2?

Perhaps the news would not be quite as shocking had the shooting occurred in a city where such things are featured daily on the inside pages of the local newspaper. But this is Denmark, where a prevailing sense of peace and safety provides essential thread to weave together the fabric of society.

So how will Danes deal with this heart-rending tragedy?

That’s obviously yet to be seen. But I do know one thing: God is present in this kind of pain and fear. In Seattle… and in Copenhagen. And there is only one way through the horror -- on a road paved with prayer. 

PRAY for those most closely affected by the shootings, for those close by, and the first responders. 

PRAY for believers in Copenhagen, for strength as they minister to neighbors, friends, and to the city as a whole. 

PRAY that the Danish church would fix their eyes on Jesus and rise to serve in his name. 

PRAY for Denmark, that God would meet Danes in this trying time.