February 2011 - City and Nation Sad
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God , which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord" (Romans 8:38,39).
February 2011 begins with laughter, loving friends, singing, joking, celebration of my 90th birthday. Unlike January filled with tears, nationwide.
On Tuesday morning, December 28, I received a telephone call from Miriam, our church prayer group leader, requesting prayer for 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, a neighborhood boy missing since Christmas eve. The decision to hold off issuing an Amber Alert until that evening was a deliberate strategy by investigators. Foul play was suspected. Jonathan lived just a block or two from my house -- as the crow flies.
Tuesday night, the Garden Oaks Baptist Church parking lot was filled with cars and TV cameramen from Channel 2. About 200 people, including our prayer team, gathered with members of Jonathan's family to console each other during a candlelight vigil.
Houston has a population of about three million people, and I feel 3,000,000 tears fell when Jonathan's body was found, burned beyond recognition by suspect Mona Nelson, a soulless monster with a blow torch.
I attended Jonathan's funeral, held at our church on Tuesday, January 4.
Again, TV Channel 2 cameras filmed the occasion for broadcasting later. We were given a 2-1/2"X3" color portrait of Jonathan with a black looped ribbon on the bottom left side, a silver safety pin above for pinning on our apparel.
The front page of the Memorial Service brochure held a 3"x4" color portrait of Jonathan from the waist up as seen on TV and in the newspaper. The original 12"x14" was placed on the altar table along side Jonathan's ashes in a blue urn engraved with doves. All across the front of the church were tall stands of white flowers. Much needed boxes of Kleenex were placed on every row of seating. Most of Jonathan's life (from age 6 to11) was lived with his Uncle Glenn Scrimsher and his family of five children on a farm in Missouri. Uncle Glenn broke down with emotion several times as he told the story of Jonathan's life. He taught him how to swim, to fish, and hunt. Jonathan crammed a lot of living in those 12 years, further revealed by pictures from birth to date on the church projection screens. I believe God in His love for children, quickly snatched him up to Heaven, into the arms of Jesus, before torture began.
Just four days later, Saturday, January 8, in the La Toscana Village shopping center in Tucson, Arizona, a deranged gunman Jared Loughnere (age 22) unloaded a semiautomatic weapon outside a busy Safeway supermarket during a public gathering for Arizona's 8th District Democratic Representative Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, wounding her and twelve others, killing six persons: Phyllis Schneck, 79, retired, shopper; Dorwin Stoddard, 76, deliberately fell on top of his wife (saving her life) who was shot three times in her leg; Dorothy Morris, 76, retired, her husband hospitalized (shot), sweethearts since High School; Judge John Roll, 63, Arizona's chief federal judge since 2006; Gabe Zimmerman, 30, engaged to be married, was the director of community outreach for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; and Christina Taylor Green, age 9, recently elected to her school council and interested in government. She was the only girl playing on her Little League Team and desired to be the first woman to play in the major leagues! She came to this event with a neighbor…now very grief stricken.
ALL THIS HAPPENED IN JUST 15 SECONDS!
It was this beautiful little brown-eyed girl, Christina, with long brown hair, that touched the hearts of 300 million people in the U.S.A. She was one of 50 babies born on Sept. 11, 2001.
Her life began and ended with two of the nation's most soul-searching moments. An enormous flag recovered from Ground Zero after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was hung outside at the funeral. She was special! Exceptional with energy, maturity, enthusiasm and insight that most children don't attain until much later. Her mother said Christina was aware of the "inequalities" of the world and often said, "We are so blessed! We have the best life." Just nine years old, and gone in 15 seconds! This precious little girl was an organ donor of cornea, giving sight to other children. Every mention of her in TV news brought tears to my eyes…and especially at the Memorial Service and her funeral. Regardless of what differences we may have with President Barack Obama, he sure does know how to put words together! His messages at the memorial service and Christina's funeral were most comforting and heartwarming….. 300 million tears. He said, "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it……If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today."
Near the end of his speech, President Obama sought to calm the waters. He said, "Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath…..It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure we're talking to each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds…… The forces that divide us are NOT as strong as those that unite us."
Bishop Gerald Kicanas presided over the funeral. He said, "Christina would want to say to us: 'God has loved me so much. He has put His hand on me and prepared a place for me.'"
A person who is not close to God, our Heavenly Father, may ask, "How could a loving God allow such tragedies happen to these two precious children? To their loving families?" God did not commit these tragedies -- two evil people killed these children. These happenings are part of the condition of the world we live in…a fallen world full of evil, and God's children are not exempt. God created man for fellowship with Him. That fellowship was broken when sin came into the world. Study the Book of Job -- the oldest book in the world. I love his words in 13:15,16, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…He also shall be my salvation."
Another verse dear to my heart was Jesus speaking in John 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Our finite (limited) minds cannot under- stand many things. We just need to trust God, Who promises to bring good to us from all things, as in Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." These words are my comfort in times of suffering, distress, tragedies. Numerous times, the Bible tells us, "This too shall pass!" Bad things that happen to us are supposed to bring us closer to God. He is REAL! Nothing can separate us from His love. He cares for us. Psalm 56:3, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Read the Bible every day to get closer to God. Talk to Him every day. He is my constant companion. I thank Him all through the day for blessings. Jesus prays for us! Read John 17:
"I pray for them which Thou hast given Me…I pray that Thou shouldest keep them from evil."
> February 2011 - City and Nation Sad