Posted: September 12, 2007 in Lessons

I was in a meeting yesterday afternoon at my daughter’s elementary school when my cell phone silently buzzed in my pocket. When I had a chance to check it, I saw it was from Jay, but he didn’t leave a message. I assumed that it wasn’t important, but I was very wrong.

Jay’s son-in-law, Matt, called me about an hour later to see if I had heard about Jay’s niece, Heather. The tragic news was that Heather had been murdered by her boyfriend in Jackson that morning.

I didn’t know Heather personally, just her family. I was called to pass along the call to prayer to our church family and the world via email, which I did. It turns out that several of my preacher buddies have ministered to various parts of this family over the years, and what I’ve heard repeatedly is that Heather was a beautiful and kind girl. She was 28 years old.

The newspaper in Jackson covered the story yesterday, and it is their lead story this morning. Yesterday’s reports offered the horrible description, “bludgeoned to death,” as the cause of death. There was a lengthy standoff at a gas station. It seems that the murderer had his mom in the car with him – and a gun – and was threatening to kill himself. Eventually, the SWAT team and their negotiators talked him into surrendering.

What do you say to tragedies such as this? Nothing constructive. Bemoaning the state of the world doesn’t get us anywhere, nor does putting on a false, happy face. And saying how sorry we feel doesn’t seem to go very far either. We pray, mostly because that’s all we know to do.

But maybe the best offering we can make today is the powerful, reverent gift of silence. Sometimes being speechless is the most appropriate response of all.

  1. JD says:

    Tragic. There just are no words.

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