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Faith in times of tragedy
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I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when I first heard that Gabbiee Swainson had been abducted.

What I can remember though, is the sick feeling that grew in my stomach as news media reported on how this 15-year-old girl was taken from her home and had not been found.

Gabbiee’s abduction hit close to home for me. It is always heart wrenching to hear about a child being taken, but when it happens in your own community, the pain is magnified.

She was a student at the high school that is five minutes from where I live. Before her abduction, she had been to a local shopping center with a friend of hers.

In the days following the first reports of Gabbiee’s abduction, I noticed flyers around my neighborhood with a picture of Gabbiee asking if anyone had seen her. I had seen the flyers before, but at that time I didn’t know the story behind her disappearance.

I could feel heaviness and a sense of urgency descend on the community as the horrible details about her kidnapping emerged.

One particular morning, I sat in my living room writing in my journal, telling God how much I hated what happened and to please protect Gabbiee and that if she was gone to please comfort her mother.

About two weeks ago, as I was about to fall asleep, my mom knocked on my door and told me that they had found Gabbiee’s body.

It felt like someone had poured ice water over me, sleep didn’t come easily that night.

Because of my faith I know that death and acts of evil do not win in the end. By all appearances it looks like they have gained a victory but I know that that isn’t the truth. This world is broken and cursed and that fact is painfully realized whenever something of this nature happens.

I know that many tears were shed over this tragedy -- tears by people like me who never even knew Gabbiee.

I have to keep reminding myself that what happened to her is over; she can’t be harmed anymore by anyone. From what I’ve heard, I understand that death was not the end for her. I guess that the hardest part for this community will be coming to grips with that. It was like we all had to relive it again when her body was recovered.

Promises from God’s Word can be a lifeline in times like these -- as it is meant to be. The following verse reminds me that there is a time that will come when the old order of things will be banished, and finally everything will be made new.

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.” -- Revelation 21:4