Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mary Gardner

The woman killed in the recent Jerusalem bombing was Mary Gardner. Most news media are reporting she was a British tourist or student. That's not quite the whole story.

Mary Gardner was a Scottish believer who served with Wycliffe Bible Translators doing Bible translation in Togo. She was in Jerusalem studying at the Home for Bible Translators & Scholars founded by Halvor and Mirja Ronning, wonderful believers whom I first met in 1984. Mary was studying in their program, offered in cooperation with Hebrew University, to gain greater proficiency in Hebrew. She was dedicated to providing the most accurate translation of God's Word for the people of Togo.

In the language of the day, Mary Gardner was "collateral damage" of a bomb intended to kill and wound Jews. Because she was living in Jerusalem she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or that's how it might seem to those who don't believe God is sovereign. Mary's death was not a surprise to God.

This side of eternity we will not fully understand why God would choose to take His servant home before she had completed her translation. These are the times when we must walk by faith and trust that God can indeed cause all things to work for good, even when we struggle to discover what that good might be.

This is a time for followers of Christ to unite in prayer. Pray for Mary's parents who must deal with the tragic loss of their daughter. Pray for Mary's colleagues at Wycliffe who are also grieving. Pray for the people of Togo, and ask God to raise up someone to take her place and complete this translation of His Word. Pray for the people of Jerusalem who have been impacted by the bombing, and ask God to use the story of Mary's life to point others to Him.

And pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Ask God to thwart the plans of those seeking to take innocent life in the name of false religious beliefs.

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