1,000+

Unspeakable. The amount of grief that the Jimenez/Lamas family is experiencing is something I cannot even begin to fathom. My heart is so heavy even thinking about it. To think that a woman is suffering physically from bullets that blasted into her body, leaving her legs and pelvis injured from their blow. But beyond the physical trauma she is also living with the emotional trauma and grief of having just lost her husband and adorable 4-year old son. A senseless tragedy. The result of one man’s rage. A beautiful family of a mom, dad and 4 children- their family unit shattered and searing pain and unspeakable grief. All because of one man’s sin. One man’s inability to control his own rage. Unspeakable. Horrendous. Sickening. And yet the priest at St. Joseph’s tonight encouraged everyone in attendance at the viewing to think of forgiving. Just as Jesus forgave as He hung on the cross, saying to His Father in Heaven “they know not what they do.” Oh Lord the pain and anguish of this tragedy seems too fresh to allow prayers of forgiveness to be uttered on anyone’s lips. The pain is raw and searing. And yet, yes, you ask and call us to forgiveness. If I was in Gloria’s shoes, could I ever forgive? Oh wow. That is so hard for my brain to even wrap around. So so so so hard. I pray that Gloria will one day be at the place of that freedom in her faith in you.

My heart broke tonight when I saw Gloria hobbling in on crutches, with her family clasping and grasping her arms and shoulders, helping her down the seemingly-forever-long aisle of St. Joseph’s church. Later in the service when pictures were displayed on the large screen, the sight of Gloria and her husband Filimon walking happily together as a newly married couple down that very same center aisle of St. Joseph’s years prior, really gripped my heart and caused my heart to swell with overwhelming grief. Here is a woman who walked this aisle with joy and unspeakable love for her marriage to Filimon.  And now several years later was hobbling up this aisle with crutches supporting the damage of her bullet-stricken legs……her husband and son’s coffin awaiting her at the end of the aisle. Unspeakable pain. Unspeakable grief. Simply unspeakable and unexplainable.

I can’t even put words to what I feel. I’m at a loss. The best I can say is that it was beautiful to see over a thousand people show up tonight to show support, love and respect to this grieving family. I never knew any of them personally. And yet I know that their grief and pain is being felt in significant ways by people who I am closely connected to through Young Life and DaVinci. And so I pray. I ask you God that you would comfort, comfort, comfort for days and months and years on end the family members who will forever be changed because of this tragedy. I pray that you would keep the 3 young children’s hearts protected. Love on them Lord in miraculous heaven-sent ways all the days of their lives so that the pain of this tragedy does not cause them to lose all touch with love. Keep their hearts protected and their desire for love sooooooo alive! Oh Lord protect those precious children so that they don’t become numb, jaded or angered into oblivion. Help them one day to discover that you are their heavenly Father who can love on them, care for them, guide them, encourage them, protect them, bless them and be in relationship with them even though their earthly father is no longer with them.

Lord, thank you for the blessing of family, friends and community. Thank you for those 1,000+ people who took time out of their busy schedules to show up tonight and let a grieving family know that the injustice of this tragedy is unspeakable. God I pray that you would help seal in the mind of Gloria, Carolina, Alex, every sibling, their mom, every family member and friend that you are a God of immeasurable love and comfort. Oh Lord would you madly and passionately pursue them through the hugs and presence of your people. Please. Please, please be with that family in the difficulty of tomorrow’s burial. May you be glorified somehow through all of this.

And for all of us who hear the wailing cries of the family echoing in our minds tonight as we fall asleep, may your Holy Spirit keep fresh in our minds how fragile life and is and how truly grateful we can be for each waking morning. Thank you Lord above all else for your Son’s sacrifice on the cross so that we might all have the blessing of salvation and an eternity spent with you. I pray that your Holy Spirit will move and stir in the hearts of any of the unbelievers and/or lukewarm believers who were present tonight. Oh Lord may this jar them all into the reality that there really is life after death. This isn’t the end. Oh how I pray that all 1,000+ will one day be saints in heaven singing your praises.

Amen.

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