Fasting in Response to Tragedy

Today, it is only natural that we fast for the victims, their families, the community of the Parkland School tragedy and the suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz. This is America’s 18th school shooting this year. Every Town Research reports that there have been 290 school shootings in America since 2013.

student with head in hands grievingThere are no words to express the deep grief, anger, and regret felt by the students and their families at the senseless death and wounds of their friends. Their memories will be scarred by the horror seared into their psyches. Only God is able to heal all their wounds and wipe away their tears.

However, we can pray and fast for them. My appetite fled me when I learned of the shootings yesterday. Fasting is a way of showing respect and trying to identify with those who mourn.  We pour out our hearts in prayer and take in their pain rather than satisfy our own appetites. Tears form and fall down our faces because of the evil that has been done. Fasting increases our capacity for compassion. In mourning we discover God’s comforting presence. (Matthew 5:4)

Of interest to me today is that David fasted for his enemies as well as his friends. So we fast as well for Nikolas Cruz. From all the reports that I’ve read, he is a deeply disturbed, angry and wounded young man. His mother died of pneumonia, November 1 and his Dad died of a heart attack several years ago. He was expelled from school last year for getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.” (2 Samuel 1:12, NLT)

I point this out not to excuse his behavior, but the importance of churches and communities being aware and reaching out to those hurting around us. It is true, that hurting people hurt others. In almost every article I’ve read it has been said, teachers and students saw multiple warning signs. One quote of interest, “I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him.”

I encourage you to fast and pray at least a meal today. We are not powerless against the schemes or plans of the enemy. We fight best in prayer and fasting. Our weapons are spiritual ones that overcome him. “Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God’s Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, CEV)

Grace and Peace.

2 thoughts on “Fasting in Response to Tragedy

  1. I’m pro life , from birth to grave, I’m also pro 2nd amendment, pro constitution. Yet so much more needs to be done to curb , end this senseless violence in America.
    Let us begin in our selves, our families, our communities, churches, and bipartisan government actions without compromising our constitutional rights.
    These issues is much deeper than the weapon of choice used…. much sadness and heavy heart today, much to focus on during this fast day

  2. Chad, I agree that we all have a responsibility to address the anger, despair, pain in our nation that preys upon the most vulnerable. Our response must be wise and courageous. It will take a great deal of honesty and soul searching as a nation to get at the root cause of those who are maiming, killing and destroying the safety of public assembly whether in a church, school, theater or political event. The danger is ignoring the source of violence and not the weapon of choice.

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