I am shocked and saddened at the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT yesterday. It so easily could’ve been anywhere, anytime. I guess the young man was mentally ill and shot his mother as well as kids in her classroom and other adults in the grade school. It’s hard to imagine anything more heinous. I feel for the families, all the ones who lost their loved ones yesterday. But I hurt especially for the little ones. My girl is right around that age. I don’t know what I’d do if she died in such a horrific fashion. My heart trembles at the thought. President Obama’s televised speech was especially poignant. He discreetly wiped his own tears as he spoke of the slain children who “had their whole lives ahead of them.” Our thoughts and prayers are with those folks today and for many days to come.
I spoke to someone on the phone yesterday who has no TV service and rarely gets on the internet. She had not heard about the tragedy.
“It’s senseless”, she said, almost immediately. “We keep trying to make sense of these incidents (referencing the Town Center shooting from 3 days before) and we’re simply not able to do that.”
Nobody deserves to die like that. I refuse to offer pithy sentiments like,”God must have needed them in heaven” or “It was their time.”
No. It wasn’t. That’s ridiculous. Insert your favorite expletive here. What kind of God would do that?
But, you might say, what kind of God would allow that?
The very same God who gives us free will. We choose our actions. We choose our attitudes. We live in this country, this United States of America, with so very much freedom at times it’s scary. Our idea of “safety” is an illusion. There will always be some way to cause harm, if someone puts their mind to it. Stricter gun control laws? Sure. Metal detectors in every school? Bring it. Is mind reading next? Anybody remember “Minority Report”?
I suppose this might sound callous or cruel; believe me, it’s not my intention. All I know is that God still holds the whole world in His hands. As I went to pick Ruby up from school, I realized it could’ve happened there. I stood outside with other parents, under the pale blue sky ringed about by rainclouds backlit by the setting sun, a cracked Easter egg of light. The kids started filing out. The first graders from one class came out bearing wrapped presents for their parents, eyes alight, smiling. It was healing to be around the energy and joy of little children again.
I didn’t want to write about this today, but my heart is heavy and nothing else will surface. Everything that happens to us God already knew about, long before it happened. Bad things happen to us but it doesn’t mean He loves us any less. His heart breaks even more than ours does. He still works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28), even when we don’t understand. Or perhaps, especially when we don’t understand. He brings beauty from ashes. We can overcome evil with good. I have to believe that. We all do, or we are already lost.