Saturday afternoon the University of Southern Mississippi football team stood tall in Central Florida University's stadium. The Golden Eagles soared away with a big win. The team was beside itself. The coaches were elated.
Sometime later, an undetermined number of those young men made a choice that will live with them for the rest of their lives. They visited a local "club." That is a cover name for a place of raucous behavior. Reports reveal that as many as 1,000 people will visit this "club" on Friday and Saturday nights. It's an accident waiting to happen.
And it did.
But it wasn't an accident.
Three of those young men found themselves at odds with an unidentified individual. For whatever reason (very few of them could be good reasons in a place like that), he wanted to put them in their place. Security personnel sent them out into the parking lot. The unidentified person pulled a gun, aimed it at the three young men and pulled the trigger. One is now paralyzed. One's vocal chords were severed. One was hit in the chest.
Thankfully, all will live. Sadly, all three lives have been changed. One, barring a miracle from the Lord Jesus, may never walk again. One, barring that same miraculous presence, may never speak again.
I pray for the miracles.
I grieve for the young men and their families.
I also grieve for the choice that motivated them to follow their passionate desires and to visit a place like that.
I grieve for the nation that has created the expectation that, if it is fun, it must be okay to do. So choose "fun," whatever form it takes.
I grieve for the expectation that we must sow those wild oats, as they were once called. So choose to sow those wild oats.
Those choices we make have consequences. Many of the consequences are good. Some are bad. Some lead to tragedy.
Pray for these three unnamed (by me) young men. Pray for the next choice to be one that brings them under the care of the Great Shepherd.