Dear fellow redeemed in Christ Jesus,
We cannot make sense of the evil perpetrated against those dear school children in Ulvade, Texas. We do not even try. We cannot know the hidden mind and will of God who let this evil deed occur. We do not even try.
But what we do know is that this world is broken and has been since our sin corrupted it. The first person born in this world, Cain, murdered his brother, Abel. Can you imagine the devastation to our first parents when they had to bury their one son, and bid farewell to their other, exiled like a fugitive? In Jesus’ day there were tragic events, like the collapse of the tower of Siloam that killed eighteen people and Pilate who murdered some Galilean believers in the temple in the midst of their sacrifices. We also know that God loves all people and wants them to be saved. We know that as Christians He only wants good things for us and promises to take any evil we experience to be used for our blessings.
This world is broken. We as sinners are broken. God did not send His Son to fix this brokenness, i.e., create heaven on earth. But Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. Completing His work for our salvation, Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father to rule all things for the benefit of His Church. He will soon come back to complete our rescue.
The civil authorities need to find solutions to protect their citizens as best they can and we certainly can and should assist wherever possible. Even with such participation however, we can feel powerless and defeated. As Christians we need to be bold in petitioning our Lord for His help and protection trusting that His will is always good and gracious for us even though it appears just the opposite.
I would suggest Christian parents and grandparents, teachers and pastors in our Lutheran Schools, use a prayer like the one below daily – early in the morning, whether during the school year or in the summer. Others, you can adjust the prayer appropriately as you pray for the children of others. Read the account of 2 Kings 6:8-18 and how God showed His angelic protection when Elisha the prophet was threatened by the Syrian army. I used a similar prayer when our eldest son served two tours in the Iraq War as a Marine and now again that he is working in one of the most dangerous vocations in our country – logging in the mountains of the NW.
O faithful God, Lover, Protector and Preserver of mankind, Lord of hosts, before whom stand a thousand times a thousand, and ten times a hundred thousand who serve You: how dearly You love us that You should set over us from childhood Your holy angels. Amid this dark world, these holy watchers who encamp round about those who fear Your name, always behold Your face awaiting Your command to intervene among us. Give Your angels charge over our children to keep them in all their ways of ordinary life. Drive from them all wicked spirits who seek to do them harm, guard their going out and their coming in. Protect them with fiery chariots and horses like the prophet Elisha and his servant. Let them accompany them like the three men in the fiery furnace and the prophet Daniel in the lion’s den. Give us the certainty that those who are with us are more than those who are with our enemies of wickedness. If it is Your will that their holy angels do not deliver them from the evil design of any agents of death and destruction, send them the comfort of knowing that for Jesus’ sake Your holy angels will carry their souls to their everlasting home in heaven prepared for them by their tender Savior. Let me and my children live all our days in Your fear, and love Your Word and Gospel, into which things even angels long to look. Keep true repentance and faith in Jesus in our hearts, that the angels in heaven may rejoice over us, Your dear children, all. Strengthen us every day to serve You aright without fear and trembling on earth as Your mighty angels serve You in heaven, and may we rejoice in their eternal companionship hereafter; we ask these things through the saving name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our only Savior. Amen. (cf. Lutheran Prayer Companion, translated by Matthew Carver, CPH2018, #441 “Thanksgiving for the protection of holy angels,” p. 280-81)
In Jesus’ name,