Ginger Sanders couldn’t hold back her tears. Sharing stories from the first few days of ministry in Aurora, Colo., the seasoned Rapid Response Team chaplain was overcome by emotion as she described how God was moving in this tragedy.
“His presence is here,” said Sanders through her sobs. “It’s almost similar to the description in Genesis 1:2 where ‘darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.’
“The Spirit of God is in Colorado, hovering over the darkness.”
After attending a memorial service at Gateway High School, Sanders said she and the other chaplains ministering in the grief-stricken area came back with a touch from the Lord. “This is very hard and very painful, yet He is showing His love in many ways, big and small.”
One example of that love came during the service. As Sanders stood toward the back of the crowd, a young lady approached her, leaned over and said, “I don’t know anyone here, I just needed to come.”
When Sanders turned around, the young lady—whose name is Shaya—smiled when she saw that she had just spoken to a Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain. She then leaned forward, hugged Sanders and said, “I am a Columbine survivor and I just couldn’t stay home.”
Shaya had driven from Littleton, Colo., to be in Aurora for the family and friends of those who died. “She understood how they feel because her best friend was killed at Columbine,” said Sanders, who prayed with the young woman and introduced her to the Gateway High School principal. “He said he would love to have Shaya come to speak when school starts, even if it just helps one person.”
On Sunday morning, Shaya spoke during the service at Aurora Calvary Chapel. “The congregation was blessed and encouraged when she spoke of the love of Jesus and how a person could have hope through Him,” said Sanders. “She is a living example of someone who still is in the process of healing from tragedy, but able to live for and serve Christ.”
Sanders also ministered to one of the police officers who had to inform families that a loved one had died in the shooting. The man came right over when he saw Sanders and said, “I am a believer and this is the hardest day of my life. How could I even prepare for what I am doing? It’s only through God that I can do this.”
Even though the senseless tragedy has many asking “why,” Sanders and the other chaplains serving in Aurora see God’s hand: “Yes, He is here in the middle of the grief. He is in control. He is even reaching out to us.”
The morning of this interview, Sanders knew that God was close. After such an emotion-packed few days, she needed refreshment for her own soul. Settling down with steaming coffee and her Bible, Sanders opened to Psalm 18: 1-6 and found the words handwritten by the Lord:
I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
Be the Hands and Feet of Christ
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