Dear Friends,

I have been searching for the words to say after another American school has been turned into a killing zone. Seventeen lives were taken from family, friends, all of America, and the world. This all took place in a Parkland, Florida high school in an act of senseless violence on Wednesday afternoon. We cannot help but ask why.

There are fathers who will not get to experience walking their daughters down the aisle, there will be mothers who will not have the opportunity to help their sons prepare for the prom, and there are children who will wait for “Daddy” to come home, but he will not. There are young students whose lives were full of hope and promise who will not have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Their light was extinguished by an act of extraordinary anger, hurt, and hatred. My heart is heavy, and it hurts today.

Over the coming days and weeks, the political pundits will give their opinions of the “how,” “why,” and ways to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. While I cannot offer up legislation that would stop a horrific event such as this from occurring, I pray that the words and actions within this text can move you and comfort your soul.

Matthew 5:4 tells us, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Crying out to the Lord in times like this is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is a testament to the understanding that our God hears the cries of our hearts, and that we totally rely on Him. Cry out to your Father today. Pray for all who were affected directly and indirectly by this act. Pray that God would comfort and wrap His arms around this devastated community. Pray for our country, asking the Lord to begin to work through each of us so that we may live and love like Christ, as this is the only hope we have—our hope that God and God alone has all of the answers we so desperately need.

In times of great need, our resolve is greatly tested. I have heard it said, “Every time we think we’ve measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we are reminded that this capacity may very well be limitless.” Our hearts are broken with those in Parkland, Florida. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with them through these trying times.

Now to answer the why question. Our adversary the Devil is real, and he plays for keeps! This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles—that is our heritage. The late Dr. Richard Halverson, former Chaplin of the U.S. Senate, described America to me as “a cut flower,” saying, “She still remains beautiful and the fragrance of her aroma is still strong, but she has been severed from her roots, and unless she reconnects to those roots she will wither and die.”

We took the Bible out of our schools, and we have tried to remove Him from all aspects of public life. When we step out from under the umbrella of His protection, we become open and unprotected from the Devil’s attacks.

We need to pray that we will return to the God who made America great. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can do what only God can do. May He have mercy on this great land, and may awakening visit us once again. Visit us again, Lord, is my prayer!