What kind of monster goes into an elementary school and kills 20 kids?
What kind of God allows this to happen?
Where is the justice for this crime?
On Friday 14-DEC-12, In Newtown, Connecticut:
- There were 20 homes that had the worst phone call they’ll ever receive.
- There are 20 parents that must now prepare funeral arrangements instead of planning Christmas parties.
- There are 20 parents staring at Christmas presents that will go unopened in 10 days.
- There are 20 parents that are questioning their faith.
- There are 20 parents who will be avoiding the rooms that were once occupied by their children.
I cannot fathom the depth of their despair these parents are feeling during this holiday season and truth be told, I get scared when I try to imagine it.
I prayed more today than I have done in a while. I prayed for the Newtown, Connecticut community, the parents who lost their children and the police officers that had to enter that school and see the dead children on the floor.
But once that was over, I selfishly prayed for myself. I was in a very bad place Friday and needed some wisdom and although I didn’t deserve it, my selfish prayer was answered late in the evening.
Long before the terrible events of that day became known, my wife and I had planned to have a special day for our two kids on Friday the 14th. We had them invite their best friends to come to our house after school, they spent the afternoon playing, we had dinner and then we all piled in the SUV to go look at Christmas lights. The kids had popcorn and hot chocolate and we played the movie The Polar Express in the DVD system while we drove around.
The kids, oblivious to the tragedy that had happened earlier in the day, were overcome by the magic of Christmas and spent the whole night oooing and awwwing at the Christmas lights and giggling at jokes they made with their friends.
My wife and I, fully aware of the events of the day, had many quiet moments where we looked at each other, smiled and had that unspoken communication that spouses have that let the other one know how happy they were in the moment.
As luck, or fate, would have it, the movie came to its conclusion just as we were pulling into our neighborhood and the scene playing at the time was when the conductor was dropping off the boy (who had doubts about Santa) to his home and he offered the boy the following parting wisdom:
“The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.”
And then it hit me. Outside of the obvious horror of the day’s events, what really troubled me, personally, was that we were powerless to control the events in that Connecticut town. We could postulate for days about stricter gun laws, tighter security at schools, more attention to those with mental illnesses, etc. but all of that may or may not have prevented this atrocity. The fact remains that evil people exist and if they are determined enough, they will be successful in carrying out their evil acts.
For me, it takes events like today to make me realize that we really aren’t in control of a majority of the events in our lives.
And that is what really frustrates people. We can accept tragedy that is of our own doing. We can ask for forgiveness, learn from our mistakes and do what we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In our jobs, if there is a known issue that needs fixing then we can rally the troops and move forward. But we really get frustrated at work when our business issues are not of our making but instead are the result of outside forces that we can’t control. That is when desperation creeps into our work and eventually our personal lives.
As we were pulling into our neighborhood and I heard that famous quote from the movie, God spoke to me and I was reminded that God never promised us a life that was carefully planned out according to our desires or a life that was fully under our control. All God asks us to do is ‘get on’ and place our faith in Him.
God doesn’t promise us that evil will be powerless over us during the journey of life but He does promise us that in the end, Good defeats evil forever.
During our lives, we will be tossed around by the evil in the world that is beyond our control but God offers us this reassuring promise – In the end, Good wins!
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
1 Cor 15:51-56
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”