I lot of different emotions have welled up in me these past 30 hours or so, since my husband called from work to let me know that the news was reporting a gunman at my daughter's university, and that they were on lockdown. I am not one to panic, and I generally remain calm in emergencies. So I continued my grocery shopping, cool and collected in all outward appearance, even as my stomach was doing flip-flops and my hand was gripping that cell phone for dear life. Mark had not been able to reach Sarah's cell phone, but as soon as I hung up with him my phone rang, and it was her, letting me know that she was in class, and would be there until the all-clear was given. There wasn't much information, except that someone "had seen a man wearing a ski mask and holding a handgun" walking near campus. I reminded myself that no violence had occurred and that all safety precautions were being taken to keep the students safe. Lockdown was lifted after an hour and a half, but since a suspect had not been found, students were told to be cautious, and the dining halls were all closed. So she had to go walk to a pizza place with her friends to get dinner.... okay, a little more worrying , thinking about my little girl out walking around with a possible gunman on the loose!
Boy, is it hard when your babies are far away! I couldn't do anything but pray, which is no small thing - but I WANTED to jump in the car and start driving to go get her!
Then this morning, the news broke that the whole thing was a hoax, a story about an armed robber made up by a student, trying to keep from getting in trouble about a damaged apartment door! First came relief - NOBODY walking around ready to shoot! Then anger - what kind of knucklehead would make up that kind of story, especially with what has happened on college campuses this past year!!?
So now I can reflect a bit. No, there wasn't a masked gunman intent on death and destruction present on my daughter's college campus. But there is an enemy who "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour". (1 Peter 5:8) As anxious as I felt about the perceived danger yesterday, am I as conscious of the daily dangers of temptation and compromise that my children encounter out in the world, and am I standing in the gap, praying for their strength and safety? I realize that I cannot protect my children from every danger or harm or catastrophe, but I have done my best to give them the tools and armor they need to go through whatever challenges life has to offer. I do pray for them each and every day - not always with the same urgency - but from my heart. So for my daughter living on a college campus, and my son training at an Army base with live ammo, and my other son behind the wheel of our car, and my younger children here in the house while severe weather bears down on us this evening - I'll keep loving them and praying for them and trusting God. And that's the best I can do.