The images are devastating. The reports tragic. I can barely tear myself away from the television.
Lost homes. Lost businesses. Lost pets. Lost lives.
And then, it hits a new horror.
The tornados destroyed two schools. And kids - children - are trapped.
These children, the ones at the school, apparently drowned as the water pooled up and the rubble they were trapped under kept them down. They must have known it was coming. They must have cried out for their parents. They must have been terrified. They must have wondered if someone would come save them. Some of them might have even turned to prayer.
And, if you think at all like I do, your mind goes to a horrible place... what if it were me? My child?
And we pray. We pray for understanding. Peace. Rescues that seem improbable. An end to the storms. We say a prayer for ourselves, that we would never have to endure the horrors that the residents of Oklahoma did. We pray a prayer of thanks that we are safe. That we still have our children to love on.
But what about the parents whose children will never come home? What can we pray for them? We can't bring their child back or take away their pain, but we can pray for them. We can pray with them from afar.
Lord, I pray that you would be with the people of Oklahoma who have endured so much. I pray that you would comfort them, regardless of their situation or their level of loss. I pray that if they are far from you, that this would not make the separation deeper, but that it would bring people closer to you. That they would find you in this time of tragedy. But, I especially pray for the parents who have lost children, Lord. That you would heal their hearts. That you would give them a peace that surpasses all understanding. That they would know that their beloved child is cradled in your arms, forever healed. They are perfect, they feel no pain, and all they know is love. I pray that in the weeks and months and years to come, when they are missing their child and struggling to understand why they were taken so soon, so young, that you would remind them that your love is greater and that they will one day be reunited. I pray for their friends and family, that they would be kind and gentle and understanding during this time of grieving. That they would understand that grief knows no limits or bounds and that you are doing a work in them that might take longer than these friends would expect.
Your prayer might be different, but I hope you will take the time to say a special prayer for these parents who have lost so much. Having lost a child myself, I know the pain that will face these parents in the days ahead. Right now, they are in shock, but soon, they will need every prayer they can get. At first, just to survive. Then, to begin to move on from the mourning and into the remembering. To learn to function without their child. To adjust to their new normal. They'll need every prayer they can get. Even from someone they don't even know. Even from you.