Having written about the tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan a few weeks ago, I was going to write today about the Southwest Airlines Pilot who successfully landed a plane with a non-working engine, a fan blade from which killed a passenger. Her testimony is remarkable.
But then someone decided to drive a van on a busy Toronto sidewalk on Monday.
Ten people were killed, and half again as many were injured. What was most notable about this tragedy, if one can find any good in it, is the fact that one lone police officer managed to arrest the van driver, within minutes of the whole episode beginning, and without firing a single shot.
On Wednesday, I wrote to the congregation I serve to encourage us not to be afraid in the wake of this event, that the best thing to do is to trust in the Lord and push on. Perhaps another point to emphasize as we continue to reel from this catastrophe is that it’s imperative for God’s people to be engaged in the lives of others, especially those who might seem unlovable.
The man who drove the van that killed ten innocent victims last Monday, according to research revealed online, was a troubled soul, and frustrated (for lack of a more sombre term) that he couldn’t get any dates with women. It was this, apparently, that led him to run over that crowd of pedestrians – mostly women – and to want the police to kill him.
To be sure, there will be those who think that he should have been killed, but that was not the arresting officer’s mandate. His mandate was de-escalation, which he performed in textbook fashion: weapon drawn, but not fired. Now, hopefully, the driver can receive both justice and the help he needs.
What could have prevented this man from evenwantingto do something like run over people? We may never know for sure, but I think it’s fair to say that experiencing more love would have helped. We don’t know what his relationship is like with his parents or his wider family, and we don’t know if he has any kind of relationship with a church or with the Lord.
The lesson for us is to love our kids, and all people we encounter, with the love of Jesus. Who knows what difference our care could make in the life of another person? Could our care save lives?
Possibly. What have we got to lose?
“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love” (1 Corinthians 13.13b, The Message).