“I know…”

by DanWolgemuth on March 2, 2012

Dean Carlo clutched the cell phone and held it close to the microphone at the front of the auditorium. Behind Dean was a picture of Greg Ruegsegger with his beautiful daughter, Kasey.

Moments before the picture flashed on the screen I had done my best to introduce Greg as my friend in ministry. A Denver attorney, college classmate, Youth for Christ partner, and fellow pilgrim. The receptive ears in the room belonged to students from Chardon High School. Two days before this gathering they had been rocked by the reality that violence had crossed the threshold of safety in their local school – shots rang into the high school cafeteria and three of their classmates were now names on a funeral program.

The room was full. It was comfort, and hope, and solidarity that was being pursued – and the ministry of Youth for Christ, along with local churches, were stepping into the void.

Once the polite applause had subsided, Greg’s voice broke through. There wasn’t an individual in the room that knew Greg. He had no earned rapport or sweeping credential. But Greg had something that each longing heart in the room ached for. In 1999 Greg and Darcey Ruegsegger’s daughter, Kasey, had been the victim of one of the bullets launched in the library at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

Kasey survived, but the massive damage to her shoulder is a daily reminder of April 20.

Greg told the story, respectfully, honestly, sensitively. He raced through years and years of history in just a few minutes. A blanket of silence covered the room. Hungry souls hoped for a morsel. But instead of a scrap or a crumb Greg served up a four-course meal.

“I know how you feel. I want you to know that even though you feel frightened and confused right now, God is still in control.”

Greg did more than share his personal pain. He did more than expose the challenge of the journey. Greg was the voice of His Father. He was a fitting mouthpiece for God Himself to propel seed onto fertile ground.

On Wednesday night at a gathering in Chardon, Ohio Greg said what I could not. “I know…”

And in that companionship Greg could offer perspective and promise; Greg could offer Jesus.

“He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;  (Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

The prophet knew.

Jesus knows. Our pain. Our grief. Our fear. Our sorrow. Our trauma. Our loneliness. Our regret. Our bitterness.

Jesus waits at the intersection where senseless acts of violence meet human reality with simple words…”I know.”

To the community of Chardon, Ohio, Greg Ruegsegger gave the finest gift anyone could give. He gave them Jesus. The Jesus of Columbine. The Jesus of Chardon. The Jesus who knows.

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