Bringing Joy Out of Sorrow

by via email

(Editor's note: the following information was relayed via email. The author is unknown, but the overall accuracy of the facts has been verified by Kari Fox, receptionist at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Some statements in the original story were inaccurate and have been corrected by sources at the church.)

By now almost everyone has heard of the tragedy that took place on Sept. 15, 1999, when a gunman entered Wedgwood Baptist Church and killed seven people and injured seven others before taking his own life. What the media have not reported, however, is how God has been so evident, both during and after the shooting. He has done amazing works!

Evidence of God's Control During the Shooting:

- The gunman fired over 100 bullets into a crowd of over 400, but only 14 people were hit.

- He did not shoot the more than 60 bullets he still had with him.

- The pipe bomb he threw did very little damage, as it exploded upward rather than outward. Most of the shrapnel landed in the balcony.

- One of the youths that was wounded (she was shielding a disabled friend with her body) has scoliosis. The curvature in her spine apparently directed the bullet away from major organs, saving her from serious injury.

- One of the people in the church at the time was a paramedic, and he was able to stop bleeding and stabilize injured people before the emergency crews arrived.

- Each children's worker stayed with his/her class even though they all had children elsewhere in the building, and some had teens in the sanctuary. Not one worker left his or her post.

- None of the adults who died had children.

- All seven victims were not just Christians, but bold Christians who were passionate about their faith. ["You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Gen. 50:20 niv).]

What God Has Done Since the Shooting:

- Many denominations have pulled together to offer help and support. A church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, drove over five hours just so they could march around our church building and pray during our Sunday morning services.

- We have received over 13,000 emails, 20,000 cards, and $100,000 from all over the world. Al Meredith, our pastor, has had the microphone in his face continually and has over and over given an outstanding answer to the reason for our hope. He presented the gospel beautifully on Larry King Live when prompted by a question asked by Vice President Al Gore.

- Because of the live news coverage and interviews, over 200 million people have heard the gospel because of this tragedy.

- At several schools, students met around their flagpoles the next day. At one school 25 students accepted Christ, 43 at another, and 110 at still another.

- Many members at Wedgwood Baptist are healing broken relationships within the body and experiencing spiritual renewal.

- Christian teachers all over North Texas have been able to share with their classes because the students are asking questions about their teachers' faith. One teacher led 22 students to Christ in her classroom.

- On the East Coast, where "See You at the Pole" was delayed because of the hurricane, record numbers of kids showed up to pray.

- CNN also broadcast the memorial service live. Amazingly, because one of the victim's families lives and works in Saudi Arabia, that country allowed the service to be broadcast there as well. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal to say the name of Jesus on the street.

- Because of that same CNN broadcast, 35 people in Japan gave their lives to Christ.

- A caller to an area Christian radio station said that he didn't know what those people had but he wanted it. The DJ proceeded to lead him to Christ. Many notes left in front of the church contain the same sentiment. Those who don't know Jesus want what we have!

These are just a few of the miracles that are happening. God's grace is almost overwhelming. Every time the gunman fired a bullet, he intended to take a life. Yet God turned that around and saved several lives for each bullet fired. The faith of those who died has been multiplied many times over.