This author lived in Sutherland Springs during the 2017 church shooting. The tragedy took the lives of 26 of her neighbors, including one of her dearest friends. It is a story of survival in the darkest of times and the beauty of hope found only in Jesus.
When Tragedy Hits Home
I often recall that Sunday morning on November 5th, when the initial call came through—a shooter at the First Baptist Church. I froze in complete shock, unable to comprehend what I was hearing.
No way could that happen here! With a population of around 600, hardly anyone knew our town even existed. There’s no way.
Sirens filled the air, and helicopters shook my house as I struggled to hear the words on the other end of the phone say, “Joann and her children were in there…” My heart shattered, and my world stopped. The ability to process any more pain was no longer possible, and I refused to accept that she was gone.
I didn’t have many friends like Joann and struggled with the pain of my loss. I knew Jesus was not the author of this tragedy, just as I know He is not the author of your tragedy. There will be seasons where you will suffer. Everyone, regardless of their age, suffers at some point, and it’s inevitable. Knowing this truth doesn’t make it any easier.
In my pain, I asked God, Why didn’t You stop this?! There was no answer, but He eventually dropped this Bible verse in my heart:
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
While you probably won’t see suffering coming your way, your Lord and Savior does. He has already seen the future and walks beside you every step of the way. Life won’t always go the way you planned or wanted, but remember—Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.
You may be in the midst of suffering right now, emotionally and spiritually depleted and desperate to escape the dark valley where you find yourself. Refuse to give up. Refuse to let evil win. Hope will return, and healing will come.
The Only Healer
You can’t choose the tragedy you’ll face, but you can choose how you heal. In times of suffering, we tend to try and heal ourselves, then wonder if God is still there.
I remember feeling so distant from the Lord; I just existed in my personal silence. I had to accept the truth that God put me here, knowing what was to come. In a sense, He chose me for this battle, just as He has chosen you for yours. I realized that the only way I could come out of this insidious place without letting evil win was to let Jesus lead me.
Healing didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. It’s still happening. One moment at a time.
I can say with confidence that better days are ahead. The Lord remains faithful. Wherever you’re at right now emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, you can come through your valley with renewed strength, joy, peace, and yes, with healing—and without being overtaken by the enemy. The pain you have endured will prosper you in ways you’re unable to realize right now.
Romans 8:28 NKJV: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
From the bottom of your heart, cry out to Jesus and seek Him (ALONE) to direct your path. Nobody else can heal you the way He can. Take what the enemy meant for evil and give it to Jesus. Evil is defeated, and He who wears the Victor’s crown has already won.
- Robert Scott Marshall, 56
- Karen Sue Marshall, 56
- Keith Allen Braden, 62
- Tara E. McNulty, 33
- Annabelle Renae Pomeroy, 14
- Peggy Lynn Warden, 56
- Dennis Neil Johnson, Sr., 77
- Sara Johns Johnson, 68
- Lula Woicinski White, 71
- Joann Lookingbill Ward, 30
- Emily Garcia (died at the hospital), 7
- Brooke Bryanne Ward, 5
- Robert Michael Corrigan, 51
- Shani Louise Brauher Corrigan, 51
- Therese Sagan Rodriguez, 66
- Ricardo Cardona Rodriguez, 64
- Haley Krueger, 16
- Emily Rose Hill, 11
- Gregory Lynn Hill, 13
- Megan Gail Hill, 9
- Marc Daniel Holcombe, 36
- Noah Holcombe, 1
- Karla Plain Holcombe, 58
- John Bryan Holcombe, 60
- Crystal Marie Holcombe (pregnant*), 36
- *Carlin Brite “Billy Bob” Holcombe (unborn)
All rights to articles are reserved by author. If you want to republish any content,
Request FREE Permission Here.