Jimmy Dykes and Ethan

Why?  Why this family and why this time?  I don’t know and I am not going to try to help you think this through.

Eight days ago a 65-year old man, Jimmy Dykes, boarded a school bus with evil intentions.  When the driver attempted to stop him, the driver lost his life.  He was shot in cold blood in front of a load of children.  That’s bad.  Worse, Dykes then asked for all 6-8 year olds to raise their hands.  I don’t know what happened after than other than that Dykes then took 5-year old Ethan captive and hurried off to an underground dwelling.  For the week following I, along with countless others, held our breaths and prayed for a favorable outcome.

Yesterday a SWAT team stormed the bunker and rescued the little boy, Ethan, and in the process, Jimmy Dykes died. I feel relieved, and burdened silmoutaneously.  I am certainly relieved that Ethan, who is celebrating his sixth birthday today, has been resuced.  I am burdened for his parents.  Only God can in grace and mercy help Ethan forget those days spent underground with an unstable man.

I feel relieved that the ordeal is over.  Yet, burdened for the family of the bus driver who are grieving the loss of a dear person.  I feel relieved that Jimmy Dykes will no longer threaten and bewilder those who lived in his neighborhood.  I feel burdened wondering how it is that when the influence of the Word of God is so readily available in our country that Dykes did not seek Biblical solutions.

As to fairness, well, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:45) that the sun rises, and it rains on both the just and the unjust.  It could have been me.  It wan’t.  The brevity of life is certain and Proverbs 27:1 is true:  “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Please join me in prayer for these three families. Others affected are classmates and teachers, neighbors, doctors, funeral personnel–many people.  There is a message for them in this if they will but look.  We cannot predict what will happen this afternoon.  We can plan.  We go about life.  In the end, the only certainty I have is eternal life found in the atoning work of Christ on the cross.  I am sure of Heaven. I am His, and He is mine.



  1. Glenda

    Oh, yes! I’ve been praying for those families since the ordeal began. Even when we weren’t hearing much on the national media, one of my FB friends is from Montgomery and would post updates from the local newspaper and TV station down there. At the same time, one of my other FB friends was moaning about the “unfairness” of life because one of her neighbors, a man only 52 years old, dropped dead on his treadmill, leaving behind a wife and three children. While life does often seem unfair, I have only to look at the way our Lord was treated and the suffering He endured FOR ME to realize that fairness would have sent me to hell without the grace of God. I don’t know whether the bus driver was saved, or whether Mr. Dykes accepted Christ at some point during his troubled life, but I have the peace of knowing that God is in control of these things, and all is going according to His perfect plan, even when we don’t understand it all. Such things never make sense to me, but that is not the important thing.

  2. I understand that the child has some type of disorder similar to Asperger’s, which may make it harder for him to process what happened—or, it may actually allow him to recover more quickly than a (pardon the expression) “normal” child. In any event, his actual ordeal may be over. The recovery could take years. So very sad.

  3. I had not even heard about the incident. How sad, indeed. Praying for comfort and peace, as well as opportunities for the Gospel to be presented, so people without hope might come to know true hope, peace, and love. Thank you for sharing this so we can join you in prayer.

    • Thank you, Rene, for joining me in praying for these many folks. God uses these incidents of pain as a megaphone. Created for evil, but used for good; much the same as Joseph expressed in the end chapters of Genesis.

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