What do we do when unspeakable horror is visited on innocent children? In the wake of the Sandy Hook School shootings, how do we go forward?
First, words cannot express the sorrow we feel.
Second, I can’t imagine what that community is going through right now. My heart and my prayers go out to them.
There will be questions…
– Why did this happen?
– Is this God’s will?
– Why did God allow this?
Answers will not come easy, if at all…. I doubt there will ever be a satisfactory answer to why it happened; it simply defies logic and human decency. The fact that we live in a broken world is most obvious at times like this, but it will bring no comfort to those who mourn.
As for God’s will… no… this was not God’s will. This was not the work of a God who espouses loving neighbors as much as self. This was not the will of the God who gave up a Son to a violent, sin-filled world that we might be saved from the very brokenness that that visited the Sandy Hook school that day.
Then why did God allow this?
Again, no easy answers… but let’s start here: God allows humans to choose. And that day, a gunman made a series of terrible choices. At no point did this gunman choose to follow God’s will.
But before we go on a rant about free choice, let’s look at some other choices that were made that day:
– The principal and other staff… who chose to confront the gunman in an effort to disarm him and protect the children… and in making that choice, lost their lives
– Other teachers…
— who bravely shielded children
— who pulled a wandering child into a classroom and safety
— who told the children that an animal was in the building so the children wouldn’t be as afraid
— who, not knowing if their very lives would be ending in moments, still thought of the children first, asking them to “show me your smile” to keep their spirits up and calm them.
And there were other choices made:
– By first responders who chose to immediately enter the building, not knowing if the shooter was still active
– By those who chose to enter unspeakable carnage in an attempt to save remaining lives
– By second responders, who chose to be there for families, and are with them still to walk through this horror with counseling and support
Not all the choices made that day were bad choices. And in them, we see humans at their most noble, willing to give everything for fellow human beings.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)
But there are still choices yet to be made. And our choices can influence whether this broken world we live in gets a little darker… or a little brighter.
Will we choose to “give up on God” because we can’t fathom how this happened? If so, the world will loose another agent of true peace and grace, as we abandon the one thing that can keep us loving even in the face of unspeakable evil.
And if that’s the case, then the casualty count of this deranged gunman will continue to rise, with ramifications of a darker world as faith, hope, and trust die as well.
If ever there was an example of one who showed what true love looks like in the face of unspeakable evil, it was Jesus. And if ever there was a time when the world could use a glimpse of that kind of love… it is now.
Perhaps the greatest choice remains for all of us: will you choose to love?
Or will you choose to aid the gunman by adding cynicism and hatred to the darkness of this world?
Please don’t let your love become part of the casualty count.
How will you show Christ’s kind of love today, right where you are?
- Conn. officials: Principal died lunging at gunman (utsandiego.com)