Thursday, December 20, 2012

Too soon?

The tragedy at Newtown brought memories of the massacre at Va Tech flooding back.  My son, Hunter, was a freshman at Va Tech when it happened.  I sincerely thank God for AOL Instant Messenger which was the only way I could communicate with him that day.  As always, amidst the horror, Jesus was present.  I was flooded with phone calls, email inquiries, and IMs making sure Hunter was ok.  The church changed its phone message to let people know that Hunter and the other VT students were safe.  We read about countless acts of love over the following days.   Tragedies bring out the best in us, lead by, inspired by the One who overcame the biggest tragedy of all.  The Innocent One who, while dying on the cross, forgave those (all of us) who put them there.

When I finally reached Hunter by phone late that night, he asked in a voice heavy with emotion, "Mom, will you do something for me?  I can't do it myself right now... Mom, will you pray for the shooter?"   My next call was to Billy, at UNC.  I passed along Hunter's request.  "Well," Billy replied, "I already have but I will continue to."  I am ashamed to say the thought had not entered my mind.  

When Hunter returned home that week, he was a wreck.  It was so painful so see my normally happy, energetic child so traumatized.  Some time during that week, the Lord gave me a vision.  I could see one of the classrooms.  The students were lying on the floor, bleeding, terrified, in pain.  Suddenly, Jesus walked up to each one, stretched out his hand, smiled and said, "Come with me."  Instantly, the pain and terror were replaced with a transcendent peace.   

Before Hunter returned to school, I shared this with him.  He listened and nodded.  He didn't say a word.  I left it at that.

The day after Hunter and the rest of the students returned to Va Tech, they had a memorial service for all the victims.  They had made a make-shift memorial with a Hokey stone for each victim, including Cho, the shooter.  Later that day, Hunter IMed me.  

"Mom, remember that vision you got?  I got one too.  After the memorial, I went to each stone to pray for the victim.  When I got to Cho's stone, suddenly I saw him in Heaven.  He was surrounded by the victims.  They were hugging him and telling him they love him.   Mom, if they can forgive him, so can I."

Is it too soon to think about forgiving Adam Lanza?  For many of us, I think the answer is yes.  But this is perhaps the hardest thing and the most wonderful thing about our Savior.  It is never too soon to forgive.  And all God's children say, Amen.