Devotion: July 8, 2022 | The Aftermath

The Aftermath

…for we do not know how to pray as we ought…
but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
(Romans 8:26).


As I numbly walk through this summer of unspeakable sadness, jarringly surrounded by the beauty and peace of Lake Forest, how hard it is to reconcile what has happened in Highland Park with the daily rhythms of biking or walking with Remy our dog; with watching successive dawns gathering their light over Lake Michigan (each one different and unique); with delighting in the joyful enthusiasm of young people heading down Deerpath Road to the beach; or savoring the canvas of evening as an invisible Hand brushes colors of pink and gold across the sky.


How do I make sense of what, by its very definition, is senseless?  Bobby Crimo is one of us: born and raised here, schooled here, churched here.  He is not some foreign agent, some “public enemy.”  At least not before the Fourth of July.  Yet armed with an assault rifle and weaponized by anger, what resulted on the streets of our sister-city was appallingly evil, heartrendingly tragic, and fundamentally wrong.


Where do we go with our feelings of outrage and grief?  For my part, it must be to Christ alone—again and again and again.  I must come to Christ bringing my own reservoir of anger, my own grief, and my own “sighs too deep for words.”

For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
(Romans 8:28)


Everything, Lord?  Really?  What about my neighbors who’ve died?  What about orphaned Aiden?  Are you calling me to trust you now without being able to understand all this?  To believe in you now without being able to call any of this “good?”  Yet Lord—I can see the goodness and kindness in others as they responded to these events with consolation and comfort, in solidarity and prayer.  I am able to see the selfless acts of heroism that took place in Highland Park on the Fourth of July, and the unwavering commitment of our law enforcement, hospital staffs and community leaders to serve, care for and protect us.  Most of all, Lord, I can see your people coming to you in prayer, and holding you close in their hearts.  And I know that that is good.


So yes, Lord—I’m realizing that I am able to perceive how you work to bring good out of evil:  how you are always working among and within us with your own heart broken, bringing us together in love.  And for the sake of all those we’ve now lost to gun violence everywhere, may the power of that love bring forth a ripening harvest of righteousness in America’s halls of justice that will lead us all into your peace.


-Rev. Clinton G. Roberts
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
(M.div, 1985)

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