I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John16:33
There are some things in life that we simply can’t imagine. I believe that God has gifted us in the way He created us to prevent our minds from allowing us to think about certain things that would be too painful to carry. Sadly, our sinfulness has changed the world in which we live, so we are forced to experience these things from time to time. But still, how curious it is that without these events we would be unable to bring ourselves to imagine such things.
I offer this thought in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing that at latest report has left three people dead and injured more than 170 others. As I think and pray about this horrific tragedy, my thoughts and prayers turn to one man: William Richard. I don’t know him and will probably never meet him, but I am sending up prayers for him as if he were my brother. As a competitor in the marathon, Bill was reaching the latter stages of the race; so close in fact, that his wife and two children had come to the finish line to wait for him, to give him a hug and to celebrate his accomplishment. It was just before 3:00 in the afternoon when this moment of joy would be stolen, only to be replaced with fear, pain and loss.
I’ve seen the video of the explosion – the blast knocking down runners and spectators in the area. I’ve seen the images of some running away in confusion while others ran toward the victims to offer aid. I can imagine both of those responses: uncertainty taking some to escape and compassion leading others to help. What I can’t imagine is the moment when Bill Richard came to realize what had happened to his family. Just reading the news report made me cringe: his wife Denise hospitalized with serious head injuries, his six year old daughter hospitalized after losing a leg in the blast, and his eight year old son Martin whose injuries took his life.
I sit here and try as I might, I can’t begin to imagine what he’s feeling – if he’s feeling anything at all. And while I am thankful that God has blessed me with two wonderful, healthy children to raise, to love, and to hold dearly to my heart, I can’t help but feel a certain weight that I share with my brother who has paid so dearly a price in the most senseless of attacks.
I can offer no rationale or explanation other than the sin that permeates our world. Unfortunately, that is enough to cause such an unfathomable act. Likewise, I can offer no solution or comfort other than what is found in the promises of God. Fortunately, that is also enough to overcome every attack that the enemy can launch. So to my “brother” Bill, though you may never read these words, know that you, your family, and the hundreds of others who were touched by this tragedy are being lifted up in our prayers. We are asking God for the healing of wounds, the recovery of health, and the peace that comes from our Lord. Rely upon His strength as you stand strong for your family. And know that the hug Martin was waiting to give you will be one of the many wonderful things you will receive when you are reunited with him someday in Heaven.