One young woman has died, and several others are being kept alive with critical injuries. Another 15 or so have non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.
How should a Christian pray about a tragedy like this?
1. With thanksgiving. We can thank God for His common grace that restrains this type of tragedy from occurring every day. We can also thank Him for mercy on the many students in the area Gill began his gruesome act. Police officers “just happened” to be on the scene responding to another incident and were able to intervene amazingly fast. We can also thank the Lord that He is able to take something as tragic as this and work it for the good of His people that are directly affected (Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”).
2. With sorrow for sin. Gill is a picture of what is resident in all of our hearts. His actions betray what we do every time we speak an angry word or call someone a demeaning name (Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”). We ought to agree with God that we are all sinners in need of a Saviour.
3. With hope for the lost. God works through means in saving His people, therefore it is good to pray that many students will be faced with the despair of life apart from God and then flee to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
4. With mercy for the afflicted. Love only wishes well on others, so our prayers ought to be asking God to have mercy on these poor 16-20 year olds that have endured a shocking crisis.
5. With an eye on heaven. Remembering that this world is scarred by sin and our only hope for a perfect society is with the Lord. (Romans 5:2b “...we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
6. With an eye on hell. Remembering that Gill’s actions are the delight of our enemy and that the eternal suffering for sin will be infinitely worse than September 13th in
7. With an eye on the cross. Remembering that Christ died in the place of men who have sinned like Gill. We ought to let the heinousness of his crime remind us and help us feel the heinousness of our sin before a Holy God – and then praise Him for a love that bought us, recalling the infinite price that was paid.