For His Good

October 16, 2019 0 comments

A Regent Alumna Who Survived a Mass Shooting
Shares How God is Using Her Experience 

Jennifer Bennett (CAS ’07 & SBL ’11) was humming the hymn It Is Well With My Soul as she tried to exit Navy Yard Building 197 in Washington, D.C., on September 16, 2013. A federal civilian employee, Bennett thought she was responding to a fire drill and didn’t know the complex was under attack by a mass shooter. In a back stairwell, Bennett came face-to-face with the gunman who had already shot and killed several people. 

“When I turned the corner, the shooter was standing on the stairs with the gun pointed up, and I walked into him,” she recalls. “Fear was absent, and darkness was absent from my experience. … In the stairwell, I was aware first of God. I could feel him in my spirit. I knew His presence. The next thing after I got shot was this audible voice from above me, and it said, ‘You are to call out to Me.’ At that moment, I knew the presence of Christ.” 

Miraculously, Bennett survived a shotgun blast from point-blank range. The shrapnel that dug into her shoulder and chest above her heart almost severed her left arm and seriously injured her left hand. After being helped to the roof of the building, first responders were able to place Bennett in a rescue basket. But to transport her to the hospital as quickly as possible, the emergency personnel left it hanging below the helicopter for the entire trip. 

“That voice came back,” she remembers. “And it said, ‘You are to thank me for all things. And I said, ‘You’re right.’ And I prayed my way across Washington, D.C., flying in a basket, 70 miles an hour, not belted in and praising God for the opportunity He was giving me. I looked forward to how He would use me for His good.” 

Twelve people died at the hands of the shooter that day. Bennett was one of three who was wounded but survived. Over many months, she endured three surgeries and intense rehabilitation to heal from her wounds. Constant physical pain has become part of her daily routine. Today, this wife, mother and grandmother is a sought-after speaker who bears no emotional or spiritual scars from her ordeal. 

“I have always referred to myself as a warrior and a lion chaser,” Bennett explains. “I’m all in. I don’t want to be a ‘fuzzy’ Christian. I want to be on the path God has made for me. … In 2013, I asked Him to reveal how He was going to use me. Eight weeks later, He allowed me to be shot.” 

She adds, “Regent is where God set my path, so he could use me for right now. … I am speaking into a culture that is bankrupt in how it approaches people of faith and what’s right and wrong, and I am unafraid.” 

Asked if she has ever been mad at the Lord for having to walk through such a painful experience, Jennifer replies, “There was no reason to be angry. If I’m God’s and He has me where I am supposed to be, I trust Him. He’s going to use this for His purpose. I am thrilled, delighted and honored to be used for His purpose.”

To learn more about Jennifer Bennett’s experience and how God is using her for His good, visit Her recently released book Standing Still in a Culture of Mass Shootings 
is available on her website and through several online retailers.

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