but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
It was Sunday night, April 14th, 2013. I was lying in my bed talking to God. I was praying for my friends and family as usual and then I decided to ask Him for something else. I have been struggling lately with apathy and allowing my busyness to distract me from the real reasons of why I do what I do. I do what I do for God and I do it because he loves me, but sometimes a midst my schedule I lose sight of that focus. So, I decided to once again ask God to (just like the song) “break my heart for what yours.” I begged him. The next day twin blasts rocked the finish line of the Boston marathons killing 3 people and injuring 150+.
I know what your probably thinking…. and I won’t deny that my heart did break for all those affected by the bombing but God had other plans for my broken heart and it came a few days later. On Friday night the nation watched the television unfold with news that they had found the second bomber, 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and he was taken into custody. I can’t explain why (perhaps its because as a 19 year old he reminded me of my 19 year old brother and I thought about what I would be going through if if were him) but as everyone else was praying he would be found alive so they could get answers and justice could be served, I found myself praying he would be found alive because I couldn’t bear the thought of him dying and not knowing how much God loved him. As people were cursing him to hell, I was praying him to heaven. God broke my heart for a terrorist. I know I know, there are probably some people reading this who are getting upset, thinking that I am naive, I shouldn’t sympathize with someone who did something like that, etc. But give me some credit and hear me out. I don’t deny that he did horrific things, I am not saying that what he did is ok. I’m not condoning it or saying that he had no idea what he was doing and was forced into it. He probably knew exactly what he was doing when he set down that backpack. The details of what happened have nothing to do with what I am saying.
I’m talking about how God took my prayer and opened my eyes to a different reality. For a brief moment, God kept my eyes from seeing what everyone else was looking at. He kept me from focusing on all the horror that this person had just unleashed. Instead he showed me a young 19 year old boy laying on a stretcher covered in blood. He showed me one of his child whom he loves just as much as he loves me. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is just like me…a child of God. Wow. He is a child who is lost and has no idea how much he is loved. As it broke my heart, I broke down in tears. While the rest of the world was in celebration (and rightfully so) that he had been captured, all I could think about was how I, as a Christian, had failed him. How could I, how could we who call ourselves Christians, allow someone to go for so long feeling unloved by the God of the universe. How could we have allowed him to get influenced by the wrong people and do this horrific thing.
The world is full of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s who go their entire life not knowing how much they are loved. They get caught up in the wrong things and then we shake our heads and ask “how could they do that?” when they end up on the news. These people need our help. For a reason I cannot explain, God decided to use this event to open my eyes. He has opened my eyes to all those people I have neglected to pray for, all those people who need his love just as much as I do regardless of what they have done. In answer, I have resolved to pray for Dzhokhar until the end. I believe Satan thinks he has won him but I’m not going to give up without a fight. I don’t know how Dzhokhar will experience God’s love but that’s none of my concern. Like it says in 2 Peter, God desires that none of us go to hell and that includes Dzhokhar. I won’t lie to you, its a strange thing to pray for someone like that. Its even proved to be difficult for me to pray and actually believe that something will happen, but its helped me grow even in the last couple days. And now, I’m going to ask you to pray for him too. Pray for him and others like him that they may experience God’s love. Let’s pray for our “enemies” to be saved from THE enemy. Nobody deserves to live their life not knowing about God’s love, headed for hell when we have the power to stop them and I don’t intend to let them.