I clicked over to FOX News' website this evening, and I gasped out loud when I saw the headline. John Couey died tonight and the banner read:
Go To Hell.
I have been churning with so many different emotions and thoughts since I read it, and I admit to feeling very conflicted. I was shocked by the headline. First, just to read that he was dead (of natural causes). Then, because of the audacity of the pronouncement, Go To Hell. How very direct! Don't be shy now, tell us how you really feel!
Jessica Lunsford's story has haunted me from the beginning, and I have lobbed many pointed questions at God... "Where were You when she was being terrorized and raped and buried alive??" "Where was anyone?!?"
No one rescued her from hell on earth... should the man responsible be rescued from eternal hell?
I remember quite clearly that I suggested the way to deal with Couey was to treat him exactly as he'd treated Jessica. I remember saying a prison cell was far too good for him. God help me, but that's what I said. All I could think was, "I have daughters..."
My heart has been so troubled this evening over this, and I have come to realize that I honestly do not wish hell for Couey. I really don't. I also don't want him in heaven. (Just being honest.) I feel a tug in my heart to do the unthinkable... the unimaginable... the impossible ~ to pray for him.
Dear Lord, I just can't do it. I don't want to. And yet, out of my mouth came the words, "Eternal Father, I offer You the body and the blood, soul and divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy..."
I said it once and felt like throwing up. Once more, still feeling sick. Tears and asking God, "Why??"
The only thing I'm able to do is ask God to pray it through me, in spite of me. And to forgive me for not wanting to show mercy.
Is this not precisely what mercy is for?
He showed Jessica no mercy, only terror and pain. Yet, as a favorite priest pointed out to me, the first thing she did upon entering Heaven's gate was to forgive him. She is no doubt totally free and in perfect peace. Thanks be to God.
What will be the fate of his soul? Not my call, not for me to know. But tonight, it is for me to ask God to help me release my anger toward this wretched man, and yes, to pray for mercy.
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, have mercy on us all.