Friday, December 14, 2012

Some Words on the Conneticut School Shooting...

Bear with me as I write in my blog in an attempt to work through my feelings on this shooting.  My heart is so heavy that I'm almost paralyzed with sadness.  As the mommy of a First Grader and a Second Grader, this is about the most devastating news story I could hear about, even though the school is over a thousand miles from my home.

In times of tragedy like this, people ask "Why, God, why?  What sense does this make to allow this kind of evil to roar so loudly in our world?  Why allow such innocent children not only to have their lives taken from them, but to be so scarred as many of the survivors will be?  What possible purpose can these kind of horrific acts have?  Why let it happen?"

This isn't the time to launch into theological debates about why is there evil and how much of a role does God play in allowing these things to happen.  It isn't the time to smother over the pain and anger with nice platitudes that are either meaningless or simply not true.  And even as true as it might be, this isn't the time to say, "God must have had a reason for this.  Trust God."

Here are my thoughts about how to react to this.

1.  Remind yourself that God is God and God is Good.  We may be tempted to search the event for clues as to it's meaning or try to find justification or cause for it.  There will be many calls toward increased gun control or homeschooling or any other thing that we can grasp at in order to feel like we can gain back the control that we feel like we should have.  The problem is, we never had control in the first place.  Any sense of control we had, then or now, is a delusion.  You can do your best to give you the best chances of preventing something like this from happening, but you can never guarantee it.

The only way to get through life without the lack of control driving you crazy with fear and paranoia is to know that God is God and God is Good.  God is the one in charge.  He knows everything, controls everything, has made everything and is everywhere all the time, none of which we can do.  We can't go everywhere our children go, we can't control their every action and we can't know everything and anticipate what will happen to them.  But God can.  God is with our children, and all our other loved ones, just as He is with us.  And God being with them is far better than us being with them, since God is in ultimate control and we are not.

We also need to know that God is good.  There are a lot of Christians walking around today that are afraid to acknowledge that Satan exists or that he can affect our lives at all.  All that does is attribute a lot of things to God that shouldn't be.  Ephesians 6:12 states, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  Satan is the cause of suffering in this world, plain and simple.  While God may allow us to experience that pain, it is only because of our sinful nature that we've allowed Satan to give us that we need to experience pain at all.  Evil always comes back to Satan, and to a much lesser degree, ourselves.  God is good.  He is always good and He is all good.  You can trust in the goodness of God.

2.  Focus on God and not on the tragedy.  I remember how right after 9/11, people were glued to their TV sets, waiting for news on every detail of the horrific event.  Some people sat mesmerized for weeks, completely absorbed in the tragedy.  While the news channels may encourage this, it isn't healthy.  Instead of following every detail of the news story, spend time with God.  Focus on His goodness.  Focus on His love.  Focus on His shelter and protection.  God is bigger than this tragedy.  Keep that in perspective.  Yes it is painful.  Yes it is gut wrenching.  God is still bigger.

3.  Hug your own children (or whatever else you love) a little tighter.  We all need to appreciate what we have more.  Focus on how you are blessed and on how much you love what you have.  Do your best to not spend energy dwelling on the possibility of losing the things you hold dear.  Sometimes we can be so consumed with the chance of losing something or someone we love that we don't have any energy left to enjoy them.  Love your children.

4.  Focus on the eternal.  Any time a child dies, it is a great tragedy.  I read a quote this afternoon that said, "Any time an elderly person dies, we lose the past.  Any time a child dies, we lose the future."  We need to realize, though, that all life on Earth is temporary.  It isn't going to last forever for any of us.  In scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:18 states, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Try not to focus on the lives lost, since they were temporary.  Focus instead on what happened eternally.  Though not all of the adults that lost their lives may be in Heaven right now, all the children certainly are.   Think about how as each of those children walked into the gates of Heaven, Jesus stood there with open arms, ready to welcome their little souls.  They are in the arms of the Savior tonight, experiencing the kind of pure love that those of us left behind can only imagine.  And they will be there for all eternity.

5.  Pray.  Every anxiety, cast on God.  Pray for every parent.  Pray for every survivor.  Pray for the community.  We feel better when we can do something about tragedies and God has provided us a huge way to do something...prayer!  Pray and pray and pray and pray.  Then pray some more.

Thanks for letting me write this out as I deal with my own feelings on the matter.  I hope some of my thoughts may have helped you as well.  Let this tragedy remind us of our humanity and our need for community.  I may not have any answers as to why things like this happen, but I know there is still a God in Heaven that loves us.

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