My friends, I am sitting here at my desk in absolute sorrow over the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. As of the recent reports, at least 18 children are dead this morning along with teachers and staff. A flow of emotions runs through me as I consider my love for own little girls, my anger at the person who did this, my broken heart for those parents who will never see their little children again. At the same time, I pray for them and for the other parents and children that now know a terror that will never truly be erased from their minds.
I wish I had easy answers. I’d be a liar if I said I did.
This is a time to take a breath, to step back and hold our loved ones, to stop and take stock of our lives and priorities. Consider that any day might be your last, that there will eventually come a moment when you lose someone dear to you, and that eventually, you too will face that moment for yourself.
As a Christian, I believe that humanity is made in the image of God, but that we are inherently broken at our core being, by sin. Even the best of us are damaged goods. It is easy to blame the murderer for his choices, to blame the gun manufacturer for creating the tool, to blame the government for too few regulations, to blame friends and family of the murderer for not catching the danger; but, the truth is this, these events are just a byproduct of the evil around us.
You just cannot take away every implement that can be used to kill. Nor, can you station enough people around with weapons to stop violence.
You just cannot lock away every person who has mental problems, nor can you hope to catch every one who eventually snaps.
You just cannot expect police to be there to stop every crime, nor even hope that every officer of the law is safe from being the perpetrator either.
You just cannot expect to educate this type of behavior out of society, nor can you pray it out either.
You just cannot pass enough laws to change the fact that evil exists, nor debate it away online.
We may try to pass some knee-jerk laws, but that won’t fix anything. We may blame someone (Congress, Republicans, the President, the NRA, the murderer, his family, violence on television, the school for not being locked, the police for not responding fast enough), but that isn't going to solve it either.
Safety, in this world, is nothing but an illusion. This is why it becomes so urgent to figure out your priorities. This honesty about safety and lack of urgency in our priorities is missing from our society. In fact, the only urgency we have is in our busy rush to numb our reality with entertainment and amassing money and stuff.
I wish I could be more comforting in a time like this, to be able to say, “It’ll all be OK,” but we both know that it won’t. We may forget this incident, but those who are there will not. Even so, another incident will happen, whether another shooting, a terrorist bomb, a plane crash, or even a tsunami.
It will never be OK until we recognize the reality of a broken world, and ultimately that that brokenness extends even to ourselves.
At that point, our only hope is to look for the truth of God in this world, the God who promises salvation from this world, if we but turn to Him.
Please, I urge you to turn from whatever you are doing now.
If you are a believer in Jesus, please take stock. Are you living your life with urgency? Are you doing the things that God calls you to do in this world, being a comfort to others, serving those in need, being a peacemaker, sharing the hope of Christ?
If you don’t know Jesus or if all you know about him is from the obnoxious actions of a few, let me urge you to take a hard look at your life’s priorities and consider the death that each of us faces. Pray to God that you might find him. Seek out a Christian pastor who can help you through this.
All: Fall on your knees and please pray for the families of the victims today. Pray for the children who have learned the harsh lesson of evil, far too early in life. Pray for the police, fire, and medical emergency responders, for their lives will be changed by this too. But then, when you get up, carry this lesson with you. Do something good in this world. Be a person of peace. Stand up for what is right. Love all people, even those who seem unlovable. Serve others. You cannot stop all the evil in the world, but you just might bring some small light of good where you are today. The smallest candle cast a huge amount of light in the darkest places.
If you wish to talk through your feelings on this tragedy, if you wish for prayer, or if you want to know more about God, please contact me through this blog or Facebook.