How many times has it happened now?
A gunmen, for reasons unknown, senselessly and horrifically takes the lives of people and then of himself.
And today, it happened in our city.
We live a half hour away from Ostrava, the largest city in Moravia, the area of the Czech Republic that we live in.
We shop here; we dine here; we meet up with friends here; we visit our family here; we visit babies in hospitals here.
And today, in a hospital waiting room, at the very hospital I've been to many times to visit those babies, a gunmen entered and took the lives of six people who were just patients waiting in a waiting room.
Three hours later he was dead with a self-inflicted wound.
Why did he do it? Why did he think this would solve anything? Why a hospital? Why take the lives of innocent people?
It will be a long time, and perhaps never, before those questions are answered. Police are saying he'd been a patient at the hospital; but what led him to this evil horror may never be known.
Our daughter-in-law, who lives in Ostrava with our son and their two sons, texted me this morning with the news; we would spend the rest of the day reading about it, praying about it.
We didn't know anyone impacted by this devastation. But at the same time, they are our "neighbors" and we feel the tragedy with them.
Dave and I prayed today for the churches and believers in Ostrava; there will probably be someone who is a believer who knows someone connected to the horror. We prayed God would give them the right words to say, the right touch to give, and the right prayers to pray.
We prayed too for the churches in Ostrava as they evaluate how to talk about this with their congregations, and how to reach out to people who are impacted by what happened. May God give them wisdom too for how to handle this Sunday and beyond.
You never get a "manual" for disaster; you walk through them when they come. And if you're a believer in God, you trust Him to walk with you through it.
My heart aches tonight for Ostrava, and all those who were impacted today by this disaster. I pray, I look to God to make sense of it, and I pray again.
May it somehow be used by God to whisper to the hearts of people who don't yet know Him, 'I'm here, I'm with you, I'm strong, let me walk with you in this.' And may they find a good Father who leads them HOME, into his salvation, care and love.