My heart goes out to Erin Runnion, mother of Samantha Runnion who was found dead on Tuesday night after being kidnapped on Monday. I can't imagine the pain she is going through.
So what kind of punishment does Samantha's captor deserve? 20 years, Life in prison, death? How can you even find a punishment that would actually fit the crime in this case? Because our government believes in decent treatment of those in prison, tormenting him/her (most likely him) is not an option. But crimes like this make me feel like justice will never be served. Who knows what kind of horrors that poor little girl went through before she died. It's not fair.
And as I cry out to God on behalf of this poor mother who is living my worst nightmare, what kind of comfort can I find? I know that the man who did this will have to stand before God and account for what he did. And I know God is just.
But I also think, God loves that man. Because the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." He would like for this man to come to repentance. I want vegeance, I want death. I want this man to suffer every horror that could be thought of, because I think he is despicable. I think he is disgusting. But God loves him, and not only suffers over the loss of Samantha, but suffers over the sin of this man. And if that man decides to call out to God, God will save him. God won't make the consequences of his crime disappear, the man will still have to suffer whatever the consequences may be. But God will honor his prayer and make him a child of God.
Part of me wants to cry out as to how that could be. This disgusting, less than human, evil man--how could God possibly forgive him and allow him into His presence? Because God has promised in Joel 2:32 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Everyone--murderer, adulterer, liar, thief, those who think they are better than others, rich, poor, educated, uneducated--everyone. And if God could not forgive this man who has done this horrible thing, what hope do we have?
We need to pray hard that this man is found, because he is a threat to other children and other people. But we also need to pray that God will intervene in his life and bring about repentance. That will be difficult. But we should. As Christians, we need to know God's heart and what He wants to see done. And according to 2 Peter--he wants everyone to come to repentance and that none should perish and that should be our heart too. Granted we are going to have to ask God to help us desire those things. Because it will not come naturally.
But if we truly want to be God's followers, we have to make the things He desires, the same things we desire. It takes a relationship with God to really know what He desires. It will take time. It will take patience and it will take a lot of discipline as He begins to transform us. It will probably be painful as well as we see ourselves for who we really are. We like to think of ourselves as "do-gooders", but in reality we're really selfish. I'm gonna take some time this week to pray for this man and the Runnion family..