Lament for Nickel Mines

I wrote this lament in response to the shooting of ten Amish girls in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse in October 2006. I was in the middle of a course on prayer then, and the topic of lament had captured my attention. Giving myself permission to send my troubled questions heavenward helped me to sort through the raw emotions I experienced in the wake of this horrific event. I have learned to value lament is a means for turning our pain toward God and toward renewed hope.

Lament for Nickel Mines

Not again, Lord!
Violent gunman. Innocent children
Devastated loved ones
Faith stretched beyond belief
How long, O Lord, will evil reign?
Did you see when he bound them?
Quivering lips, pounding hearts
So innocent and sheltered
Lurched into a nightmare
Oh why did you not intervene?

Shaken, grief-stricken families
Traumatized boys and their teacher
Wishing they’d not been powerless
Lord, were you?

Father, you watched as your Son was slain
Surely your eyes are crying tonight
Jesus, you felt the pain of death
Bear it now for those left behind
Spirit, come comfort the broken
Come bind up the wounds
So deep, so wide, so irrepairable
Hold them tight in your unfailing love
Until the gaping wounds are closed
and the hearts have begun to heal

Give them hope that they will yet praise you
For you are Jehovah Rapha
God of compassion
With healing in your hands

Elizabeth de Smaele
02 October 2006

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