Comfort For Sidney Montana During The Search For Sherry Arnold

Sherry Arnold
This last Saturday, news came filtering through Facebook, word of mouth, the radio and the newspaper that Sherry Arnold, a 43 year old school teacher from Sidney, had gone missing.  From my understanding she was out for a run early in the morning, however, had not returned.  Later that day, search efforts were on the way in the air, by foot and with the use of all terrain vehicles.  Since Saturday the FBI has become involved and the local volunteer search efforts have been put on hold.

Needless to say, this has caused a plethora of emotions for all of us as residents of Sidney.  "This isn't suppose to happen in Sidney!"  "What can we do to make this right?"  "Was she abducted?"  "Are we safe, are our children safe?"  "What can we do to protect ourselves?"  "We need to pray."  The lists could go on and on.

Behind these statements we have a wide range of emotions as we try to process the events of this last week.  Fear sets in, anxiety shakes our foundation and doubt/frustration emerge due to our own helplessness in not being able to fix the situation.  

AHHHGGG!  Why did this happen?  Where do we go from here?  

In the midst of my own personal angsts in life as well as walking in the pains of life with others, I have often tried to find the perfect answer that would answer the great "Why Question," so as to make everything all better.  When doubt, fear, anxiety and frustration set in and questions abound we search for the answer to "Why?"  However, when it comes down to it, even the best of answers to the "Why Question" sometimes can't deal with our deepest pains and discomfort buried deep within our souls.

I return often to Psalm 119 in the midst of soul struggles.  The author of Psalm 119 talks about one who has sorrow, is in need and is afflicted.  What is profound is that the why question, the source of the affliction, is not really answered in the way we would hope for in this text.  Rather than asking why, the text encourages us to ask, "Where to now?"  Please don't misunderstand me though.  I am not encouraging us to give up hope nor abandon the search for Sherry.  Rather, what I am saying and what Psalm 119 is showing us is that the Psalmist is driven by his afflictions, sorrow, pain and doubt to the Scriptures.  Every time the Psalmist is afflicted it drives him to the Word, where God speaks.   

What happens when we are driven by our pains to the Scriptures?  God answers.  God answers our pain with the cross, Jesus' pain.  As we gaze upon the cross, we are shown God's love towards us.  As we gaze upon the cross, we are shown forgiveness. As we gaze upon the cross we know that God will hold us and never let us go in this life or the next.  As we gaze upon the cross we see that God forsook Jesus so that we will never be forsaken, thus the phrase, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is surely true for me and you.  As we gaze upon the cross we can know that we are buried deeply in the wounds of Jesus.  As we gaze upon the cross we hear, "take courage my flock, do not fear, for I am with you."

Amid our tears, O Lord, grant us comfort.  You know and understand the depths of our sadness our groans of misery too deep for words.  Lord, look upon our tears, consider the agony of our hearts and minds and souls, and forgive us all of our sins. Do not leave us in despair. Comfort us through Your Gospel, which promises strength and help to the troubled and weary. Be our comfort, our shield and strength, our fortress and strong tower, our help and constant companion, that we may praise You for Your faithfulness unto all eternity; through Christ, our Lord.  Into your hands, we commend ourselves entirely; let us never come to ruin.  Amen.  (Last Paragraph Adapted From "The Lutheran Book of Prayer")

Anyone with information about Sherry please contact the Sidney Police Department, 406-433-2210.


Anonymous said…
Very nice editorial. Very true indeed, when we ask why, sometimes I say why not, it's part of living within God, only he knows why, in this thing called life on earth. I hope in my prayers they find Sherry for her family and friends in Sidney. God Bless your community. Love and hugs. Sheryl