How can we find peace in the moments of greatest tragedy?
When a lone gunman opened fire on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he caused grief and heartache for many families. Among those personally affected by this tragedy are Madeleine “Maddy” Wilford, who was shot but miraculously survived, and her family. We might expect that witnessing a public shooting, being shot four times, and losing a dear friend might throw Maddy’s life into disarray.
Yet, in the article “LDS Shooting Victim Strengthened by Elder Stevenson’s Visit,” reporter Jason Swensen describes the unexpectedly peaceful feeling in Maddy’s hospital room. According to Elder Gary E. Stevenson, who visited Maddy in the hospital, “it was like a spiritual oasis in the midst of all this worldly chaos and oppression.” In a time of great tragedy, Maddy and her family found comfort by praying, receiving priesthood blessings, reading the scriptures, and remembering the promises in Maddy’s patriarchal blessing. Their testimonies of a loving Father in Heaven and in his gospel supported them so they could find peace after this terrible event.
The February shooting is only one example of the tragedy that occurs in our lives. We all face harrowing experiences, and we all are blessed with the comfort that only God can provide. In the talk “I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee,” President Thomas S. Monson declares, “Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, [Jesus Christ] is with us. He has promised that this will never change.” Jesus Christ has promised that he won’t fail us or forsake us (see Joshua 1:5), and we can depend on that promise to pull us through our darkest hours and most tragic times, just as Maddy and her family did in that hospital room and in the days that followed.
Read the rest of Maddy’s inspirational story in “LDS Shooting Victim Strengthened by Elder Stevenson’s Visit,” by Jason Swensen.
Source: Church News
—Sarah Bennett, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
To learn how Maddy responded to the shooting, read “Recovering Shooting Victim Maddy Wilford Thanks First Responders, Asks for Unity,” by Jason Swensen.
Read “Shooting Victim Alaina Petty Remembered as a ‘Very Nice, Good Person,’” by Jason Swensen, to discover how the family and friends of Alaina Petty, an LDS young woman killed in the shooting, found comfort.
To find out what else President Thomas S. Monson has said about finding peace in difficult times, watch or listen to “I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee.”