Thursday, May 05, 2005

Jane And Prayer

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes - Ephesians 6:11

Many of us have prayed for her...some still do...many don't know her name, some of us never did.

Photo by:Bahram Mark Sobhani
Her name is Jane Swanson and she quoted that verse from Ephesians this morning as she stood bravely before a crowd of students, a TV camera and a microphone. She has stood bravely front of a crazed gunman - a co-worker who then shot her point blank in the face.

"I truly believe the power of prayer from our local community and God's grace provided me with the opportunity to continue my life." That's what Jane Swanson said today.

The shooting took place in July of 2003 less than 10 miles from our home, even closer to our church. It had an impact on a lot of people I know. I mentioned it briefly back then.

It was a workplace shooting rampage, which sadly in this day requires little or no additional explanation. Jane Swanson - a devout Christian - was the person the gunman came to kill that day...the others got in the path of his wrath. All of the other victims died. The gunman killed himself. Every local media outlet and some from other cities covered the story. It was on the national newscasts. Workplace violence. Senseless. Merciless.

Jane's wounds were unthinkable...her prognosis quite poor. Hospital officials we spoke with shook their heads, and mentioned the very remote chance she had of surviving, and the lesser chance of a substantive quality of life. They also mentioned her family's strong faith and asked that we write about their request for prayer. I wrote those stories, but I admittedly expected the day to come when I would be called upon to write about her valiant fight for life failing. I prayed I would be wrong.

On this National Day of Prayer we wrote about Jane Swanson, standing before students and two reporters at a Christian school - physical and emotional scars still visible from a horror none of us are likely to ever understand - but she is alive and growing stronger. She is mentally alert.

Also still visible, perhaps more than ever before, is her faith.

She told the students that seconds after she was shot she began reciting that verse from Ephesians...and she believed. She believed one day she would stand before them.

She believed she would have the chance to tell them about the power of prayer.