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32 Dead.... How many now alive?

I suppose I should join the crowd and have something to say about the horrific evil that descended upon Virginia Tech today.

But what can you say.

There is nothing that makes sense.

Nothing that truly overcomes the horror of violent death of innocent people at the hands of a madman.

Nothing that doesn't, in some little way, sound contrived, as if for a moment it is something that you are having to force yourself to believe. But I will try.

I heard from Seth Terrell, the campus minister at VaTech, and I do not envy the position this man is now in. Or maybe I do? It is now that he is charged with demonstrating and revealing God in the midst of the darkness of the most supreme kind of evil. Evil that will do one of two things in the minds of most people - 1) shake whatever faith they may have had and erode it into a cynical, broken view of the depravity of man and the absence of any kind of benevolent God, or 2) reignite the faith of those who have been reminded of their own desperation and helplessness in a world that ebbs and flows with goodness and evil.

Evil is present. It is real. It flows, it strikes, it paralyzes, it destroys, it corrupts, it perverts. Usually it twists good just enough to suit its own purposes. But every now and then it bursts through its own facade, probably to let itself gaze upon its true hideous deformity and laugh with a screeching cackle at the helpless world it knows it controls. Then it disappears again back under the rug, emerging just enough to trip the unsuspecting who are not watching their step.

The echo of evil's shrill squeak was heard around the world today. Hundreds of students wandered into their classes and sleepily pulled out their notebooks and laptops to listen to another lecture. Another day, another class, another hour writing lecture notes and typing instant messages to other friends who are just as bored and tired as you are at the moment. But soon the hour will be up, and you'll slide your stuff back in the bag and walk back to the dorm for a late morning nap before lunch. That is, until the door swings open, the barrel rises toward your forehead, the loud pop rings out, and your head is torn halfway off your body and your face is shredded. The world instantly goes black and that is it.

I just heard you. Oh my God! You said. Exactly! Why do we say that? Why is that our expression we use when we encounter something horrific? I'm not sure that is always using God's name "in vain." I'm thinking that, if we let it, that expression of shock just might be a reminder that it is exactly the only reasonable thing to think in the face of that kind of pure evil! What if the world shouted that in the face of Satan, constantly? OH MY GOD! Demons shrieked at the name of God. Is there any power invested in us over evil? Of course there is! Does that mean we could have stopped a madman killer on a college campus? I have no answers to that, but I sure know the power that can stop a lot of the waves of evil that would certainly emanate from something like this. A power that can stop the despair, a power that can short circuit the hopelessness, a power that can remove the fear. A power that changes our response from "Why, God?" to "I really need you, God."

So, what is there to say to this? Maybe our gut reaction really is the answer:

OH MY GOD!


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