I spent this weekend in the woods of southern Indiana were 200 plus college students gathered from campuses in IL and IN to celebrate God. We worshipped Him, explored our identies in Him, and enjoyed sweet fellowship surrounded by fall colors and warm wind.
In the middle of this beauty, students from NIU received a text from the university. The text confirmed what we all feared when a young girl went missing from Neptune dorm earlier this week. They had found remains in the woods near campus. Hers.
Dropping students off at that same dorm last night after the conference was sobering. I think many of us feel guilty for suspecting her of pulling some sort of attention seeking prank. Some of us feel frightened about where the killer is now, if there is one. Maybe she committed suicide. We don’t exactly know yet, which has left us all feeling confused and fearful.
There have been many real tears of sadness for the girl’s family and friends today who don’t know what happened, what her last minutes were like, how she suffered, who did it… Tears because I can see those woods in my minds eye and I feel just a tiny touch of what it would feel like if it was one of our students.
So, it’s a tangle of emotions, but in the midst if it, I want to know God’s heart and reveal it to our campus. I want to be honest about the complexity of God’s response to this. He hates the evil. He is saddened by the killing of one He created. He is saddeded that one He created did something so evil. He is working to use all of it to further His beautiful and justice filled kingdom even on the earth and even in these days.
My mind knows this, but my heart wants to move all the students into our home so I can count them all at night. I want to tear through the woods screaming in anger. I want to read her journals and visit her facebook page and figure out who she was. Real life feels like it should recede into the background for a while. It’s hard to do laundry and unpack and help the kids find their socks right now.
Can you help? Can you please pray for the police who are working to solve this crime – that they would discover the truth and if there is a killer that he/she would be found quickly. Pray for NIU’s leadership to respond with wisdom. And lastly for the NIU Navs, as we sort through our response – that we would glorify God and shed real light on this campus in this dark time.