Grace for Gracie
Many of you have asked about my family member Gracie, who was shot by a fellow student in her school a couple weeks ago. She is recovering well. Though the bullet literally bounced off her spine (and missed her aorta by a hair), doctors expect a full recovery (though she is not yet walking again). As you read this, please pray for her.
As I understand it, she was shot and fell, and most of the students naturally turned from the sound of gunfire and ran away. But one student, a Christian, became aware that Gracie was shot, stopped, knelt down next to her . . . and prayed over Gracie. In that moment, Gracie said, she knew she was not alone. God came close, through this courageously compassionate friend.
Courageous: doing what we know to be best, in the face of threats that cause us to feel fear. A Christian does not hate this present life, but this world is a temporary grave, because of what is coming next. We are free to give ourselves up, because we don’t gain ourselves here; we gain ourselves There, in Christ’s return. As I consider what this girl did, I find myself returning to passages and commentators that point me towards heaven. I need my mind settled on my real home, more. I’m too often too enamored with the fleeting beauty of the sights of this trip I’m on; I need to be awakened again to the sights and smells of Home. God give us this sight.
Compassionate: I choose this word deliberately. I don’t mean empathetic - “accessing” what another feels, and feeling that with them. Empathy can actually distract us from the presence of mind to give the other person what they really need. Evidently Gracie did feel fearfully alone in that moment. Our suffering doubles when we walk in it alone. But compassion sees what the other person truly needs, and, being moved by that need, supplies that need. Gracie’s friend was not distracted from what Gracie needed most in that moment. She saw with clarity that mere human, impotent presence was inadequate - she needed the powerful presence of God Himself, a presence that could overcome.
So she prayed. Gracie needed all the resources of heaven itself in that moment. So this friend called them down. Though she was probably only reacting, it nevertheless was courage aimed at a wise, useful, and powerful goal. God make us so aware of each other’s needs, and so wisely, courageously, and compassionately moved to respond.