Another Senseless Tragedy…Another Sacred Opportunity

“I can’t do this!” Katie** exclaimed as she stood before her high school speech class.  Katie was a junior in high school in a new school preparing for state competition in the extemporaneous speaking category.  My wife, Katie’s teacher, continued to encourage and coach Katie along.  When the moment came, Katie placed 2nd in the state.

While most upcoming high school seniors are partying with their friends, working hard to earn money for college, or just enjoying their last few weeks before school, Katie tonight lies in a hospital bed.  Her condition at the time of this writing is serious.  This afternoon, she was shot…by her father.

I can’t imagine the terror Katie felt during those moments as shot after shot rang across the plains just east of Denver.  Her three-year-old sister and mother were also shot.  Her infant brother, in a car seat in the back of the vehicle, was unharmed.  Her father then turned the gun on himself.  Somehow, Katie survived the attack, managed to get to a neighbor’s house, and was able to talk to emergency workers when they arrived.  The rest of the victims are in eternity.

We just heard the news tonight.  You’ll probably hear the details of the case tomorrow.  You’ll hear how Katie’s father escaped from a Colorado prison, how he was called the “Spam King” because of his crimes using email.  You’ll hear how he had been diagnosed as ADHD.  You’ll hear about the millions of dollars he made through this illegal business.

These types of tragedies often become the stimulus to discuss numerous controversial issues.  We could talk about 2nd amendment rights.  We could talk about mental disorders.  We could talk about the criminal justice system.  We could talk about lots of things.

But what I am primarily interested in tonight is talking about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can impact the discussion of a senseless tragedy.  I am more interested in taking a sacred opportunity.

I can first take the opportunity to pray for Katie.  She is a sister in Christ and has now lost a great deal.  She will need comfort and care and counsel from her Christian family.  If she pulls through, this will have changed her life dramatically.  Please pray for her.   I believe in the power of prayer, not just for healing, but also for direction, for wisdom, for spiritual strength.  Prayer demonstrates our dependence on God our Father who knows just what needs to be done in Katie’s life.

I can also take the opportunity to have meaningful discussions about life and eternity with my children who knew Katie and her 3-year-old sister.  When I told Jason, my 5-year-old, tonight that one of his friends from preschool was killed by her daddy, he laughed in disbelief.  He couldn’t even imagine the possibility.  So please pray that Deborah and I can help to bring clarity to his young mind about the realities of this situation, both earthly and spiritual.

Finally, I want to remind everyone reading this that Jesus Himself answered the question of “Why do bad things happen to innocent people?”  In Luke 13, Jesus was asked about a tower that fell and the 18 people who were killed as a result.  Jesus said that the 18 were not killed because they were more guilty than anyone else.  Rather, Jesus said the lesson we need to take from senseless tragedies is this: “…unless you repent, you too will all perish.”  The point is simply this: we will all die.  We had better be ready because none of us knows when we will go into eternity.  If we turn from our sins, put our full trust and confidence in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the just payment for our sins, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, we can know without any doubt that Heaven is our future and eternal Home.  Please contact me by email ( if you want to talk more about this most important decision.

Ironically, Katie’s assigned topic for the state competition this year was on the topic of “gun control.”  Sure, we can talk about the temporal and political issues related to tragedies like this; but for the Christian, there are greater and eternal issues at stake.  These are divine opportunities that we dare not miss in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

**Not actual name

(Update: I heard through the grapevine that the injured “Katie” was released from the hospital today.  Thanks for your prayer!   Please continue to pray for her.) 

The local Denver NBC affiliate has published a new story with additional details from the “Katie’s” interview with investigators.  You can read the article online at:

Fox News is also following this story.  You can read more at:,2933,391022,00.html)


3 responses to this post.

  1. Things like this are almost incomprehensible. I cannot imagine what this young girl must be experiencing…in every respect. Perhaps this is why I am awake during the “night watches” at 3 am…to pray for this dear girl. Oh, Father…hold her close.


  2. Posted by Rebecca Curry on July 25, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for writing this Brian, I truly appreciate it! Thank you for showing all of us through the Bible why God chooses to let these things happen. I will pray for you and Deborah as you try to explain this to Jason!


  3. Posted by Joy Wagner on July 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    And to think that we often complain about our petty little problems! This girl is going to have long-term struggles but also long-term opportunities to be a trophy of God’s amazing grace. I hope someone puts an arm around her and guides her through the dark waters.
    It’s so liberating to think of the power of the gospel even in the most incomprehensible human “tragedy.”


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