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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Break from the Blog Tour: Not just another day...

Yesterday, April 16, 2007 was not just another day.

On the campus of Virginia Tech, an armed gunman shot and killed more than 30 people, wounding dozens more. He then killed himself. This is already being hailed as the worst killing rampage in US History. Occasions like yesterday shake people up. We begin to consider our safety…our mortality. The Beltway Sniper, 9-11, Columbine…events of such a shocking and terrible nature smack us all in the face and offer absolute proof of evil in the world.

*Two students told NBC's "Today" show they were unaware of the dorm shooting when they walked into Norris Hall for a German class where the gunman later opened fire. Derek O'Dell, his arm in a cast after being shot, described a shooter who fired away in "eerily silence" with "no specific target — just taking out anybody he could."

"He was very quiet, always by himself," neighbor Abdul Shash said.

The gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead was identified Tuesday as an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service.

News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus.

The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that he left a note in his dorm room that included a rambling list of grievances. Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune said he had recently shown troubling signs, including setting a fire in a dorm room and stalking some women.

ABC, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the note, several pages long, explains Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this."

Events like this point to the reality of evil in the most public of ways, but the truth is, there is far surpassing evil going on behind closed doors every single day in America and the world. Child abuse, neglect, torture, teenage prostitution, pornography, incest, racism, abortion…the list is longer than the composite memory of the Internet could ever possibly contain. Have you ever thought about the world, take its natural disasters and all, and considered how pleasant this place would be if it weren't for the threat of human evil?

The Bible confirms life when God says,

**10As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
12All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
13"Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16ruin and misery mark their ways,
17and the way of peace they do not know."
18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Someone might say, Wow, that certainly does sound like the state of things. BUT…I'm not like that. I haven't done any of the horrible things listed there. But if we dig deeper and begin to analyze, we will find a web of selfish motives, self-protection, denial, and fears. In moments where we are pressed hard, we may react in a rage that surprises us. When no one is around, we may do something we know is wrong. We may rationalize away our subtle attempts to put others down to lift ourselves up in the eyes of our peers.

We are all fallen.

We are all broken.

We are all desperate.

When we have a day like yesterday, when the reality of evil cannot be avoided, people tend to turn to God…and rightly so. Church services swell. People pray. People share. But soon, people wander back into complacency. Life for many returns to the numbing routine it always has been. A day like April 16th is left behind as "just another day." And we might just be able to busy ourselves enough that we forget...

We are all fallen.

We are all broken.

We are all desperate.

I pray for all of us that we won't let that happen. Take advantage of the clarity of thought afforded to us by recent events. We are fallen, but God can pick us up. We are broken, but God can mend us. We are desperate, but God can meet our needs…especially the urgent ache of our soul for Heaven.

12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no
other name under heaven given to men
by which we must be saved."

The events in Blacksburg yesterday also remind us of the immediacy of life. Those kids got up for class just like everyday. They had no idea that the rest of their lives would be measured in minutes and hours…not years. I wondered how many hurried phone calls parents had with their children in the days and hours before the tragedy. I thought about my own kids, still so very young. I looked in on them sleeping just a few minutes ago. I won't take them for granted. It's a promise for today, and a prayer for every future day.

And I pray for all of you that you will not take life for granted. Love your Lord and love everyone you can.

Yesterday, April 16, 2007 was not just another day. In fact, no day is.

*All Newstory Text in Green By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer
**ALL Bible text from

All Bible verses:

New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


everlastingscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
everlastingscribe said...

Well said sir. Well said. Among the heartache and pain are coming the stories of heroes. I cried today, I couldn't help it when I heard this. This is the short version, pulled from "digg"

"Liviu Librescu a professor at Virginia Tech, ran to the door of his classroom and blocked it with his body – preventing the gunman from entering but getting shot to death himself as a result. His actions saved many of his students. Librescu is survived by his wife of 42 years, Marlena, who was with him in Virginia." A survivor of one slaughter, died preventing another.

It's one thing to write heroes, but when they show up in real life, they take my breath away.

"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13

chrisd said...

As a teacher yourself, this must touch you deeply.

Well said, Wayne.

Amy Browning said...

Wow - to be honest, I'm learning about this just now, as I read your blog entry. In tragedy, it's so comforting to have the Lord, but for many, it is a cold and desperate time, full of confusion and anger. I will pray for all who have been involved or impacted by this loss.

We all face brokeness every single day, it is hard even for the most dedicated of believers to make sure we don't react to the situation, but instead, respond to God.

I am sinful and broken and lost. I need Him. Only through His grace can I be whole. Only His love will permeate the darkness and sin that surrounds me.

Thank you for addressing this issue in such a powerful and faithful way.

David Adams said...

It was a sad day that could have been prevented, if people were to reach out more to the Wounded spirits of our world. I hope that christians begin to reflect on how they treat others, that they do not leave those who are different behind. This type of marking of outcasts happen even at churches. Its sad to see when you are at a youth group and there is a group of very social athletic kids talking in the middle of the room while in the corner there is a sad broken soul garbed in black, whom no one around notices. Humans need to feel loved. These type of shootings are evident signs of the fact when someone is treated as an outcast, before long they will blow. They may commit suicide or like in this situation kill others around them. I pray that we as Christians do not ignore those whom are different, we should be like Jesus and be loving towards them. April 16, a sad day that could have been prevented, if someone were to show love towards the boy who shot all those people.

Eve said...

David, I so agree with you.

Thanks for the post, Wayne.

Janey DeMeo said...

As we say in Southern California, "totally bro". That means that your reflections strike a chord of truth. Your perspective on this awful event, and man's terrible dilemma, ring true because it's biblical.

I also agree with what you wrote on my blog: "Janey, I share your remorse, but you asked, "How could the teachers hear/read Cho's work and not do something…?"

The unfortunate answer I think, is desensitization. Eyes and minds are inundated with filth until it no longer seems so extreme. That's the way it is with sin and our enemy. The enemy wants sin to be so mainstream that none of us notice it until it's too late."

You're right Wayne. May we all be praying that the Lord keeps us on our toes so we can better reflect Him amid the darkness -- in spite of ourselves.

Thanks again for your comment, and your very awesome blog.