Is there any way to describe the tragedy that took place in Connecticut yesterday morning? 28 dead, 20 of them children between 5-10 years old. You can call it senseless if you want, you could call it a massacre… I’ll call it pure evil.
I’m not interested in getting into the details of it, and I’m writing this post as much for myself to process what happened as I’m writing it for you who are reading. A lot of people are saying this isn’t the time to discuss the peripheral issues, it’s a time to mourn and grieve and pray. I agree, it’s time to do those things first, but it’s also time to do some serious soul-searching: individually, and as a nation.
I’m reminded of GK Chesterton’s response to the journalist who asked him and other philosophers to write their explanation for evil in the world: Chesterton’s response… “I am.” If this sounds irrelevant or insensitive to the victims then here’s my point: Don’t talk about evil as if it only resides in others. Those who carry out these acts of pure evil are relatively few, but we all are guilty of evil and sinful acts on a far more frequent basis than we care to admit. It may not be murder, but it may be destroying a child’s heart by filling it with hurt or abuse or bitterness or abandonment.
I have two young children whom I love and would go to nearly any length to protect. I want them to be safe. But I need to ask myself what “safety” really means and how safe I really am able to keep them. There’s stupidity which leads to harm, and there’s mere ignorance that leads to harm. But I can do everything in my ability to keep my kids safe and they could still fall in harm’s way because of other people’s stupid, foolish, or evil actions. Keep your kids safe, be wise, but recognize that true security and safety are ultimately and only found from God.
This is why Jesus came… to give hope to the desperate, love to the unloved and the unlovable, joy to the sorrowful, and peace to those who have no rest. Christmas is coming. Let us not forget, in the midst of our many tears and deep grief, that this is exactly why God became a baby boy. To save us from ourselves…
Father in Heaven,
I pray for the families who have been directly affected by this act of pure evil. Be their Comforter, be their strength, be their hope. In the midst of everything they are still only beginning to feel, make your presence very much known to them, so that they would look to you as their strength in this time of weakness. Surround these families with loved ones and others who can lend shoulders to cry on and warm meals to eat.
Our hearts are completely broken over the lives lost, the Christmas presents that are wrapped and will stay unopened. Father, you know what it is like to watch your Son die. Sympathize with these parents. I can’t even imagine… words fail.
I pray that you would turn our hearts to hate sin and evil, not to hate you. Somehow, someway, make beauty come out of this. Make life to spring forth from death, light from the darkness.
Our nation, our families, our schools are broken – purify our hearts by the work of Christ Jesus.
What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own,
body and soul,
in life and in death–
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.
(The Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 1)