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A Prayer For Seal Beach
by James R Fulton
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Father -

It happened again.

No rhyme, no reason, no sense at all. Just a tormented soul in the guise of a man expressing his anger in the most destructive way; all the while destroying eight lives in the process. Eight families had a loved one ripped from their presence today. Eight people that had plans for tonight, this weekend, the holidays that are fast in coming, all those plans are now shattered. Now the surviving families have to think of funeral arrangements and not get togethers. Dreams about the coming future are now torn to shreds, like tree limbs through a chipper. And for those that remain, they must now deal with grief, shock, sadness, anger, and disbelief that something this horrendous could ever have happened. It's one thing to have someone die of a terminal illness or a tragic accident or even war; but when someone is murdered, that's a whole new depth of grief. That's anger at its worst. Now I understand why you told Cain that he must master his sin; if he didn't...well, his brother is proof that he didn't master it....

In this world, tragic things happen that we have no control over. When they have run their course, those who have witnessed such tragedies are often drained physically, emotionally, and many times spiritually. And the word on their lips is "why?" And most of the time, there's no response, just silence from Heaven. But if we quiet our hearts enough, we just may realize that the silence from Heaven is that of a Father, holding, protecting His children from a nightmare.

Words are hard to come by tonight. Fear grips us like a thief with intent to steal away our valuables; leaving us naked, vulnerable and scared. So we remain silent while the thoughts of the day linger and fester in our minds. Our joy, our anchor in times of trouble, seems so far removed from us that the only thing we feel is a neverending ache; laughter, on the other hand, is an enemy to us. In time though, they will return and be welcomed like a long lost friend.
But Father, this tragedy has a special significance to me. A friend of mine had a friend, more of a brother, that died in this rampage. However, what has come out since then, is that he died a hero.

He went to work to earn a honest pay with the skills of his own two hands - bringing out the beauty in women, while making men presentable; a noble career, indeed. He had no clue to what lay ahead in the next hours as he opened his business that day, but he's called to do something heroic during the day and when the job is done, he passes from this world to your loving arms as the result of his bravery. And while we admire such courage, we still weep, because he is gone from our world as well as those he tried to save. Randy, as well as the other seven, are in your arms now, safe from all harm.

But what about those who remain? While we rejoice that Randy and the others are safe in your Home, we still hurt here, as if our hearts have been ripped from our chests. Everything that life means to us makes no sense now. For some, their whole world is gone forever. the hurt, the anger, the disillusionment that comes with such adversity, keeps us from calling out to you with voice. Only guttural utterances ecsape our throats and praise be to you, O God, you understand them!

This is the time in our lives that you really do shine. You pour out your mercy on us, like a soothing balm, at the same time, bathing us in your grace and then clothing us in your love. Days are hard and nights are filled with tears, but your healing words will mend those who are broken. And many times, this is where faith begins, from knowing that you are there, ministering to those who are terribly hurt and shaken by life's hardships.

Healing starts with you, O Lord, minister to your children today. And restore the joy that we once knew....

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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