Two events have propelled Grand Rapids into national news in the past 24 hours. It is conceivable that you're not aware of these events. I'm certain that you're not aware of all the details, at the very least. I'm listening to the latest news as it breaks.
Go back shortly more than 24 hours, to about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, when the news broke that there had been a triple murder. Shortly afterward, an announcement was made that there had been a quadruple murder in another home on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Within a brief time, the police made us aware of the fact that the same individual was a suspect in both events. But where was he? There was a police helicopter in the air, after the suggestion that the suspect might be on his way to Detroit.
But it soon became obvious that he hadn't left Grand Rapids. Within a few hours, he was shooting victims randomly as he drove through the city. He shot four times at a police cruiser without injuring the policeman. He did, however, injure people in two other vehicles. He then took off in a vehicle, tires having been flattened by road spikes, driving on the rims of his wheels at high rates of speed on the freeway. Suddenly, when police began gaining on him, he drove through the median and took off driving the wrong way on a heavily-traveled highway. Eventually, he drove his car down through a ravine, and bailed out. He shot his way into the nearest home and took the three people therein hostage. At the end of about 7-8 very tense hours, the suspect committed suicide.
Fast forward to this evening, when a candlelight vigil was organized in honor of the seven people who were killed last night. It was being held in a park that overlooks the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Local TV coverage was constant. As they commemorated the lives of those killed last night, suddenly commentators broke in with the news that Betty Ford, widow of President Ford, has died. Thus the second event that has propelled Grand Rapids onto the national scene, since the Fords made their home in Grand Rapids during their early years together. President Ford practiced law here before being elected to the House of Representatives.
We're told that her body will be brought back to Grand Rapids to lie in state at the Ford Presidential Museum, before being buried beside her husband, in view of the very park where the candlelight vigil was held this evening for the seven people murdered yesterday afternoon.
As I've been troubled by some of these events, a song that has come to mind repeatedly is: "Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast, There by His love o'reshaded, Sweetly my soul doth rest." The safest place for any of us is in the arms of Christ. I'm thankful I can rest there.