The “lucky” one

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
-Romans 2:4

Jahar on the boat

I’ve been saying for months now that Jahar survived that night on the boat by God’s grace alone and for a beautiful purpose. After reading the excerpt The Boston Globe shared yesterday from an upcoming book, I am even more sure of that.

Sunset was an hour away — there was still plenty of light — and Henneberry could clearly see blood on the floor. He looked forward, toward the cabin, and saw more blood, under the seats. His eyes traveled back and forth between the sets of bloodstains, his mind working to make sense of what he saw. His gaze shifted, to the deeper interior — that’s when he spotted the body. The person had his back toward Henneberry, the hood of a sweat shirt pulled up over his head. The body remained perfectly still as Henneberry, stunned, backed silently down the ladder.

What if Henneberry wouldn’t have checked his boat until later that night or, if it was too dark by the time he got around to it, until the following day? Jahar was clearly in bad shape already at that point, and without medical attention, he would’ve bled out. Thank You God that Henneberry felt the urge to see what was going on with his boat immediately after the lockdown was lifted.

Dzhokhar’s movements prompted someone to begin firing at the boat. Other officers immediately joined in, the shots ringing out through the quiet neighborhood. “Hold your fire!” Evans yelled. He believed they had the guy, that things were under control. And he wanted to take Dzhokhar alive. The bullets stopped.

What if Evans hadn’t yelled for them to cease fire or if he had waited even a bit longer? Even in that short amount of time that shots were fired, the boat became like Swiss cheese and Jahar suffered gunshot wounds. Thank You God that Evans saw the need to take Jahar alive and thus to have the other officers stop shooting.

Hovering in a helicopter, State Police outfitted with thermal-imaging equipment reported that Dzhokhar looked as if he might be trying to start a fire in the boat; dozens of gallons of fuel could be on board. The FBI team leader calmly told everyone to back away. If the boat exploded, he said, the flash would come right down the driveway.

What if the flash bangs that were thrown into the boat would’ve started the boat on fire and caused it to explode or if they would’ve burned Jahar? After all, there are documented incidents of flash bangs, which are supposed to be non-lethal, starting fires that kill people. Thank You God that the flash bangs ended up being non-lethal like they’re meant to be.

For a time, Dzhokhar appeared to be still. They didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. The color of the image on the screen seemed to be fading. Then everyone stirred: He’s moving! He’s moving!

What if the standoff in the boat would’ve lasted longer than it did? The fading color of Jahar’s body on the thermal imaging device suggests that Jahar was steadily losing body heat and dying. Thank You God that the officers were able to get Jahar to start cooperating when they did by using the plea of his former wrestling coach.

Dzhokhar, illuminated like a stage actor by lights police had trained on him, was draped along the edge of the boat’s port side, blood trickling down. His left leg hung over the side, and he was slumped over. He raised his shirt as SWAT officers approached, seeming to offer himself in surrender. But he kept rocking left to right, his right hand dipping out of view inside the boat. He seemed to be falling in and out of consciousness. He was a mess, a bullet round having left a wound on his head, his ear all ripped up, a gash on his neck.

What if the wounds to his head and his neck would’ve been in slightly different places that would’ve been deadly? His injuries were bad, but they could easily have been far worse. Thank You God that the bullets hit where they did.

“Get off the boat,” Correale said. “Get off the boat.”

“But it’s gonna hurt,” Dzhokhar replied. The side of the boat was maybe 7 feet off the ground. It wouldn’t be an easy fall.

They kept telling him to get off the boat, but he didn’t. The time had come to pull him down.

In a flash, the SWAT officers and others reached up and flung Dzhokhar down. He landed on the ground, and not gently.

What if he would’ve landed badly head first and broken his neck, possibly fatally? From the looks of the photos released of them yanking him off, he fell more sideways, but he very well could’ve fallen head first. Thank You God that even though his fall was not gentle, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

In Henneberry’s yard, the officers’ priorities shifted to a new urgency: saving the life of a man suspected of killing and maiming so many. “It was a real possibility that he could die without medical aid,” Trovato said.

What if the one of the medical professionals “accidentally” did something to harm him or if they were unable to stabilize him? Surely most of them were not happy about having to save the life of someone who had taken four lives and forever changed so many more, but they followed the Hippocratic Oath and treated him like any other patient. Thank You God for having Your hand upon the medical team that helped save his life.

Two medics from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came running over and began working on him. Two Boston paramedics jumped in, too, and provided oxygen. Dzhokhar was in rough shape: fractured skull, multiple gunshot wounds, including one from a bullet that went through the left side of his face, and injuries to his mouth, pharynx, and middle ear. He was battered and bloody, but he was alive.

What if more of the shots fired at him had actually hit him? He was “lucky” enough already to escape the previous night’s shootout alive unlike his brother Tamerlan. Thank You God that even though he left that boat in bad shape, he was alive.

That’s a lot of what ifs. Had circumstances worked out ever so slightly different, Jahar could very well be dead and in hell right now. But nope, God had other plans for him.

I’m reminded of the song “Lucky Ones” by Lecrae. In both verses, Lecrae raps, “I don’t believe in luck; I believe in grace.” One could see Jahar as one lucky man for having survived that night against all odds, but I don’t. I see him as one young man who was the recipient of God’s amazing grace. I truly believe God saved his life on this earth so that He could save it for eternity.

Deserving of desertion, servants of destruction
And everyday we taste of a grace that we’re unconcerned with
My sin I should be burned with, I’m guilty, filthy, and stained
But He became a curse, drank my cup and took my pain


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14 Responses to The “lucky” one

  1. TJ says:

    That’s beautiful, I agree!

  2. brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

    YES! I praise Him every day for all of this too! The sheer amount of things that you gave thanks to God for in this post points out to me just how many things God had to orchestrate in order to save his earthly life that night. That’s complicated stuff! If even just one of those things had gone differently, Jahar would be in a totally different place right now. It reminds me of what we were discussing on my “Your Love Never Fails” post with Romans 8:28-29: I truly believe that God was working everything together for Jahar’s good that night – knowing that if He protected Jahar, Jahar would come to Him and have eternal life. This completely highlights for me what I believe – that God knows Jahar will be His and that He is calling him to come home. I am praying so hard that Jahar’s eyes would be opened to all of this – that he would realize that he is only still here because of God’s protection – and, as the verse you shared from Romans at the beginning of this entry points out – that it would lead him to repentance.

    • Bri says:

      I thought of this phrase this morning I think possibly while I was reading your comment: Saved by grace to be saved by grace. I think it perfectly captures what God was doing for Jahar on April 19.

  3. I agree. Thank you for this.

  4. Bri says:

    When I entitled this blog post, I was simply taking the song name and making it singular, but it hit me tonight that the title has a deeper meaning. As everyone knows, there were two Tsarnaev brothers accused of bombing the marathon, but Tamerlan died in the shootout with the police. Thus, Jahar is “the ‘lucky’ one.” Jahar was given a second chance; Tamerlan wasn’t. I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve had a discussion with other CU4J people and we decided that maybe God knew Jahar would come to Christ, but Tamerlan never would, and that’s why only Jahar was blessed with a second chance. Maybe that’s way off, but it definitely makes sense.

    I don’t like to think about what happened with Tamerlan, especially since as a Christian, I have no choice but to believe he’s in hell right now. But if I do think about his fate at all, I use it as fuel to pray even harder for Jahar. Jahar’s salvation is ultimately between him and God, but I want to do everything I can to help bring him home. As Charles Spurgeon said:

    “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

  5. Bri says:

    While as a potential future defense attorney, various aspects of this case trouble me, I trust that God has everything under control. Let’s say the jury is incredibly biased against him… well, what if God knows that what will open Jahar’s eyes to his need for Jesus is being sentenced to death? I really hope it’s not, but I’ve been pleading with God that if it is, He orchestrates things so that ends up being the sentence.

    I’ve lost a lot of faith in our justice system and our government. The problems that exist with the death penalty alone are staggering. I was happy today to read that an inmate we’ve been praying for and who we truly believe is innocent was granted a new trial. She was actually supposed to be executed last Thursday, so praise God that didn’t happen. At least the Mississippi Supreme Court still knows what justice is. I think cases like hers wonderfully illustrate why the death penalty needs to be abolished. But for however long it still exists, I know that inmates on death row can find LIFE in Christ. That’s my fervent prayer for them.

    • Bri says:

      Aww thanks. 🙂

      Whatever particular path law school leads me to, I hope to glorify God in it and make a difference for my clients. If that means becoming a defense attorney, I especially hope my representation of my clients will enable me to share Christ’s love with them. They’re going to be people that the world hates and would see as beyond redemption, but that’s not the way I see them.

  6. brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

    Bri – who are you kidding? It means becoming a defense attorney. Stop entertaining other options. :-p

    And thank you iwasleah. 🙂 That means a lot to me. I thank God for you too! ❤

    • Bri says:

      Haha. If God puts it on my heart to stop entertaining other options, then that’s what I’ll have to do. But I’m not exactly gonna stop entertaining other options before I even take a single class at law school.

  7. Ada says:

    There’s no doubt: it’s all in God’s Perfect Hands.

    • Bri says:

      I look at too how God has raised up an army of prayer warriors for Jahar and think there’s no way there isn’t something going on. I think God has a plan for Jahar that’s more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

  8. Reblogged this on Priez Pour Dzhokhar and commented:

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