Of all the horror, of all the shock, and the sorrow and the sheer obscenity of the Amish school girl murders, one thing stood out in my mind.
Marie Roberts was in a prayer meeting, a prayer meeting at the time her husband was breaking in to the school, ready to commit unspeakable mayhem.
The media has not said much about Marie Roberts (and praise be to God for what is hopefully unusual restraint from the media), but I get the sense from what I’ve pieced together, she was involved, caring and genuine. She was at a prayer meeting for a group called Moms in Touch.
She was praying to God, our Heavenly Father, while her husband was carrying out his monstrous plot.
Such terrible awe and horror in the subcutaneous realization of our hearts: the evil that men do is right here, right now, in each of us. Even in the moments while we appeal to God, evil tortures and kills.
We torture and we kill.
No one can say that this was from God.
I cannot fathom the workings of this war between light and darkness, but I am given hope by this: the forgiveness shown to Marie Roberts and her family by the Amish is the purest mercy God could show to Ms. Roberts. It may even feel terrible to her – I can imagine I might feel that I didn’t even want them to forgive me much less look at me in my shame. But one of the most crystalline displays of forgiveness in modern memory is an utterly profound gift to Ms. Roberts, one to rise above and overcome one of the most dark and demonic displays of evil. To be the recipient of such grace and mercy must be humbling beyond measure.
Pray for mercy. The power and glory of mercy is matchless.