From Hurricane Sandy, to Sandy Hook Elementary, our country sustained some devastating blows in 2012. But, with the dawning of the New Year and through thoughtful reflection and prayers of hope, we can affirm our faith in one another and renew and strengthen the American Dream.
Even for those tested by war, the horrific tragic scene a lone gunman left in a once peaceful place of joyful learning and individual growth was too much to bear. We may never have answers as to why a human being, or for that matter, even how a member of the human race could commit such atrocities.
Yet, we must do what we can to understand the mindset of the murderer to help prevent future acts of such unprecedented carnage. I think all of us woke up to a different nation that Saturday morning after the massacre of so many children and their dedicated principal and teachers in Connecticut.
Our State and Nation share a collective desire to try to find some way to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, and, God forbid, from happening in our own communities.
As a lifelong defender of the Second Amendment, I believe that gun safety is essential, but, so is addressing the gaps in our mental health system and the issue of drugs and violence in our culture and prayer in our schools. The causes of violence in America are bigger and broader than just firearms.
I want to hear from all sides before the Congress moves forward on any legislation related to the Sandy Hook tragedy, so we can move forward together. Let us act deliberately, but, for the sake of too many already lost, let us act.
Then too, in the last several months, our State has received no less than four Federal disaster designations due to the havoc and devastation Mother Nature has wrecked upon us.
From unprecedented storms of hellacious winds and heavy snows, the loss of life and extended power outages, our mettle has been repeatedly tested.
In the wake of all this, we have bonded more closely as neighbors, friends and families. Most of us have found comfort in the well worn pages of the family Bible, a trustworthy source of wisdom, guidance and clarity on every element of the human condition known to man.
Just recently, through the friendly pages of Facebook, a longtime friend of southern West Virginia and mine, Mr. Fred Pace, Regional Executive Editor of Heartland Publications stationed at Boone County’s Coal Valley News, posted a few golden verses of Scripture that renewed and inspired my spirit, and I think they are mightily worth sharing, especially in this season.
Penned by the Apostle Paul to the Christian Church in Rome, Chapter 5, verses 3-5 read:
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
“And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
What a message to begin the New Year. The longer I live, the more I value not only the power of prayer but also the gift of prayer. The reality that prayer works in so many ways certainly appeals to our human frailties. But the tremendous value of prayer seems to me to be the closeness you can obtain in your personal relationship with the Almighty, Christ and the Holy Spirit through prayer. In this season of the Lord’s greatest of gift of his Son, we are doubly blessed with the gift of prayer. How grateful we are as Christians to share with the good Lord a glimpse of glory.
Government surely has its role, its duty, to act to protect the people, but surely the path paved by sincere and devoted prayer is a sound course well worth a journey together as a nation.
May the New Year bring us healing through hope cast in Heaven’s heart. May prayer continue to strengthen the Body of Christ. And may our Nation bind up its wounds with our prayers of hope to renew and strengthen the American Dream.
(Editor’s note: U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) represents West Virginia’s 3rd District.)