Dear Father, Scot Peterson was a sheriff in Broward County, Florida. He was armed and in uniform during Nikolas Cruz’s attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Witnesses, video, and Mr. Peterson’s own statement indicate that he remained in a secure position outside, avoiding an encounter with the shooter, while Nikolas was shooting dozens of students inside the building last week. Mr. Peterson has claimed he was providing intelligence for law officials who were rushing to the campus, making them aware of all that was happening at the scene. However, the Sheriff’s Department has expressed their disapproval of Mr. Peterson’s actions, claiming it was his responsibility to immediately rush towards the shooting and take out the shooter. As a result of this incident, Scot resigned and a 24-hour guard is protecting his home, a clear response to threats against him. Father, Jesus taught us “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) How many of us turn our back on our neighbors in need? How many of us ignore the homeless on the street? How many of us befriend a troubled teen in our neighborhood who needs our wisdom and guidance? How many of us visit the elderly widow who sits alone in a chair all day long? We continuously ignore people in need. Yes, it was Mr. Peterson’s job to confront Nikolas. He was not merely a concerned citizen. However, even if Mr. Cruz had a moment of human weakness, how many of us can raise our hands when asked if we’ve never had a moment of weakness? We all have. How many of his critics would have done the exact same thing if they were in his shoes? Father, the students needed a hero that day. We wish someone could have stopped the shooting. We look in the direction of Scot Peterson and raise our hands in confusion, saying “What’s up with that?” Maybe Scot has a legitimate excuse. Maybe not. In either case, he deserves compassion. He will live with the repercussions of this incident the rest of his life. He deserves our prayer and Your grace and mercy. Father, lead him to a place of spiritual and emotional healing from this incident. Enable him to embrace Your forgiveness and be spiritually renewed. If he was simply a human being that day, struggling with his limitations and insecurities just like each one of us, I ask that You will protect him from all who attack his character. Strengthen him. Turn him into a courageous man of God whose life gives amazing evidence to the transforming work of Christ. Father, there are many who are being blamed for this tragedy. The gun manufacturers. The NRA. The FBI. The sheriff’s department. Mental health professionals. Politicians. Those who gave the shooter a place to live. However, it was Nicholas alone who decided to walk into a school and pull the trigger. May we learn from this tragedy. May we make whatever systemic changes are necessary to protect students in schools around the country. However, don’t let us build hearts of stone, hearts filled with anger and bitterness, hearts eager to destroy the lives of others who we blame. Keep us from becoming like the shooter ourselves. Amen.
Dear Father, Chevy Chase was born into a wealthy family with a number of successful and influential relatives. He developed his reputation for comedy when he attended various boarding schools and Haverford College. He was involved at one time with a band that would eventually become known as the hit-producing group Steely Dan. He had a series of jobs before he became a comedy writer. This led to his fame in the 1970s as a member of the original cast of Saturday Night. He left the hugely popular show to star in a number of popular movies. However, he has also developed a reputation throughout his career for being difficult to work with. Many entertainers have shared stories of their conflicts with Chevy. It has been reported that Chevy has alienated many in Hollywood and he now finds it more difficult to find work in the industry. Chevy, a political liberal, is known to be candid about his dislike of certain politicians. Chevy injured his back due to his many physical comedy routines and he has admitted to past struggles with addictions to both pain medication as well as alcohol. Chevy, married to his third wife, the father of three daughters, is in the news today because of a recent road rage incident near the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, otherwise known as “The Tappan Zee Bridge”, on February 9th. Chevy and another driver, a Michael Landrio, seem to both agree that Michael pulled in front of Chevy in the westbound lanes of the bridge. Both drivers report that Chevy attempted to pull the driver over to discuss the incident. Both drivers seem to agree there was a verbal confrontation once the cars were pulled to the side in South Nyack, NY. However, Michael claims Chevy threw a punch at Michael inside of Michael’s car and Michael kicked Chevy in self-defense. Chevy denies he threw the first punch. Michael has been charged with second degree harassment and will appear in court. Father, my heart goes out to Chevy today. His life story suggests a man who is deeply hurting and who seems to attract conflict. I ask that You come into his life. Give him a spiritual encounter with the living God who deeply loves him. Bring healing into those areas of his heart and soul that are the source of his inner anger. I ask that Chevy will soon experience the amazing peace of Jesus Christ that is nothing like he ever experienced before. Meet his spiritual, emotional, and physical needs today. Give him a purpose in his life that has eternal meaning and satisfaction. Amen.
Dear Father, I attended a church in West Chester, PA in the 1990s and early 2000s. I knew a lovely couple in the church named Bruce and Liz G. They were my age and had children of similar age to mine. I learned yesterday that Bruce experienced a catastrophic injury to his hand while at work and he had 14 hours of surgery yesterday. Many hearts were pouring out pleas to you to spare his life and his hand. I have received a report today that it appears he is doing better and there are reasons for hope for recovery. Father, my heart goes out to Bruce and Liz. I pray You will save his hand and enable him to be able to use it. I pray You will ease what must be incredibly intense pain. I pray You will minister to his every need – emotionally, spiritually, and anything else on his plate. I pray for Liz who is going through her own trauma. Comfort her. I pray that You will give this couple, and their adult children, an incredible testimony of Your amazing grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, and compassion. Amen.