As seen on Sojourners

Two days after a brutal workplace shooting in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, where five were killed and six were injured, over 1,000 people joined together for a prayer vigil at the Henry Pratt Company plant, filling the street near the building where the shooting occurred. As several local pastors shared prayers with the huge gathering of mourners, the only sounds that broke the silence between prayers were quiet sobs. Beside a gate connected to the plant, people placed flowers, candles, and signs.

As I quietly joined the prayers that local clergy were offering, I was reminded of what matters most to those suffering in the wake of mass trauma.

1. God draws near to the brokenhearted. When Rev. Dan Hass began the service, he echoed the words of the Psalmist, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He reminded those present of God’s steadfast faithful love that is poured out in a particular way on those who have endured suffering. In the wake of crises, people often struggle to make sense of God’s presence or absence in the midst of chaos. Scripture confirms that God is near.

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