Culture

River Valley High School tragedy: A mother’s tears

Sharon Szto // July 21, 2021, 5:39 pm

RVHS - Ever be (Featured)

Image source: Wikipedia

What was your reaction to the news of the death at River Valley High School?

One life was lost, one life was ruined forever — and the shock waves impact every single school-going child.

For me and maybe every other mother in Singapore, it felt like an unspeakable horror that can never be erased. That kind of bad ending where nothing good can ever be redeemed from this.

There actually isn’t very much that makes me cry these days.

Some things are sad, some things are solemn, some things are serious and urgent, but Monday night I just cried and cried.

I think I was crying at the loss of innocence for this entire generation.

Some events are profoundly defiling.

There is a school whose name is intrinsically linked to this; there is a toilet where no one will venture; there is a chair, a desk, a classroom and a water cooler that will be avoided and whispered about.

But the impact reaches far beyond one school.

“How do I tell my kids about this?” I wondered, crying.

How do I tell them your school, a national institution committed to safeguard, empower, nurture and teach you, can be such a dangerous place where an innocent student loses his life?

The institution has been defiled. 

It is a deeply wrenching thing to need to break it to a child that the world they live in has come to this.

River Valley High School death: Making sense of a painful loss

I was crying over the boys and their families while driving home as worship music was playing in the background.

Your praise will ever be on my lips
Ever be on my lips

“God”, I said. “You are asking a lot from us to have the faith to sing these words at a time like this.”

He answered by driving the promise of this song through my gut.

You Father the orphan
Your kindness makes us whole
And You shoulder our weakness
And Your strength becomes our own

Now You’re making me like You
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride

Free of all the guilt
And rid of all the shame
And known by her true name

God alone is able to give His strength, His love and His peace that surpasses understanding in the face of death (Philippians 4:7). Things that we can never achieve by our human strength.

This is the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Even though hands are stained with blood and the unthinkable has been committed, God still offers beauty for ashes. Clothing in white. Freedom from guilt and shame. 

There is a generation that will emerge from these terrible years. This is my prayer:

That they will be clothed in white. That God will transform their ashes into beauty. That they will be known by their true name.

PAUSE + PRAY

You’re invited to join an inter-generational Zoom prayer session this Saturday morning (July 24) at 10am. More details can be found here. You can also pray wherever you are: 

  1. Pray for peace and comfort to all who are hurt and grieving. 
  2. Pray against every fear and trauma arising from this tragedy. 
  3. Pray for protection on our schools and young people. 
  4. Pray for wisdom for the decisions that need to be made by schools, the authorities, etc. 
  5. Pray for kindness, compassion and love among Singaporeans.
  6. Pray for humility and repentance as we seek God’s mercy and grace.
  7. Pray for God to move in a powerful way in our nation, for Him to redeem this for good.