Joe and Claryce Holcombe lost nine family members during Sunday’s horrific mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, but, despite the unimaginable carnage, the couple are remaining firm and resolute in their Christian faith.
The extent of the impact that the event had on the Holcombe family is both staggering and unfathomable, as the elderly couple lost their son, Bryan Holcombe, and his wife, Karla, in addition to their grandson, Marc Daniel Holcombe, as well as his baby daughter — and their great-granddaughter — Noah.
They also lost Crystal Holcombe, the wife of their grandson, John Holcombe, three of their great-grandchildren — Emily, Megan and Greg — and the unborn baby Crystal was carrying, who was reportedly due to be born in April; John Holcombe and two additional children survived.
But despite that immensely painful situation, Joe Holcombe, 86, told Faithwire that he and his wife “are very close to God” and have not wavered in their faith as a result of Sunday’s traumatic events.
“We’re strong,” he said before speaking of a future time when he believes he and his wife will see their family members again in heaven. “We’ll be with Bryan and his wife and the whole family one of these days — and we look forward to that.”
When Holcombe was asked what he would say to the family of suspected shooter Devin Kelley, he said that he didn’t know, though he offered up what can only be summarized as a stunning amount of forgiveness.
“I don’t hold any resentment to him. I wish he hadn’t of done it, but all I can say is that he is going to be rewarded for what he did — and he’s not going to like that reward,” he said. “I don’t hate him by any means; I just feel sorry for him.”
Holcombe said that his grandson, John Holcombe, who lost his pregnant wife, unborn child and three children in the rampage, is still at a hospital in San Antonio with his 5-year-old daughter, who doctors are observing.
In the end, Holcombe said that he would also have a very pointed message for anyone watching what unfolded and wondering how a loving God could allow such carnage.
“God doesn’t want us to understand him; he wants us to trust him and I think I’d tell them that. We don’t understand how God works, but we trust everything he does.”
Holcombe said he and his wife go to another Baptist church in Floresville, Texas, and that they first heard about what unfolded after receiving a phone call from someone who provided the tragic details.
Pray for the Holcombe family during this difficult time.