Today I am getting married, but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that today is also the nine year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting.
Nine years ago, I was eating lunch in the cafeteria at Evangel University when I heard there had been a shooting at Tech. I only knew one person at Virginia Tech at the time: today he serves as Best Man at my wedding. As soon as I could, I headed back to my dorm room and messaged the only person I knew who would know if he was okay: today she is one of my bridesmaids.
I began praying for Tech, for this one Hokie I knew, and for his friends. I was very relieved when heard that he was safe and okay.
Not long after that, my great grandmother passed away. I arrived in Virginia the weekend after the Tech shooting, to a state that was orange and maroon. It was a somber sight to see flags, ribbons, and signs everywhere I went. As we mourned and buried my great grandmother on a sunny April day, my state and my country mourned as well.
In Romans, the apostle Paul writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
On our third date, Jordan and I went to a national park for a simple hike and a lot of conversation. It was then that Jordan told me about his experience at Virginia Tech on that horrific day. It was then that I realized that when I prayed for Tech all those years ago, I had prayed for this kind, goodhearted, peaceful man.
It was also on that day that Jordan told me that if we were going to date, he wanted it to be a serious relationship. That he wanted more than just someone to hang out with. He wanted love and he wanted marriage.
And on that day, as I was still full of the uncertainty and giddiness that a new relationship brings, I heard a still quiet voice say very clearly, “This is for you, Beloved. This is My gift to both of you.”
For He makes all things good.
So today I’m marrying a Hokie, a Hokie I didn’t know nine years ago, but for whom I prayed and for whom today I thank God that he was kept safe. Today I get married in a little country church to a Hokie in front of Hokies. Today God will continue to fulfill his promise to make all things good.
But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…
[I]n all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:24-28, 37-39