I've never been in Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom? Done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable, but horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
Each have a point. But it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be a good time to listen.
But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that terrible September 11, I found myself praying: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. Souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Not to me and countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President quoted after the shooting: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus. whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.