I found out the news through seeing personal expressions of grief on Facebook. I then Googled “Connecticut shooting” and read of the horror myself. My heart broke. The loss of such innocent young life is as unfathomable as it is unbearable. So many, so young…no! I want to reject the reality because it is so offensive. Our souls immediately cry out for restoration of the lives lost and removal of the pain inflicted…and justice – if that is even possible with a loss so great.
Now, maybe you saw the title of this blog and had a tiny glint of hope that there may be a way to make sense of such horrible crimes and tragedy. Maybe you saw it and wanted to see how arrogant and insensitive the author might be in a vain attempt to make sense of it. Maybe you saw it and just wanted to read and share in the expressions of another family mourning with those in Connecticut and around the world.
Whatever your reason, I have to tell you what you already, deep down, know: we can’t make sense of it. Tragedies like this are so offensive to our sensibilities that they leave us desperate, inconsolable, and empty. So much so that we almost forget that it’s the Christmas season. Did you forget? I did too…for a moment.
You know what’s strange? Mary and Joseph felt the same pain and sorrow we feel today, 2000 years ago. History records that Herod The Great, the Roman king over Judea, brutally murdered many young boys around the time of Jesus’ birth. Do you know how many children scholars estimate died in the small town of Bethlehem that day? Twenty. Herod was afraid a boy had been born that would usurp his throne. So he killed all of those kids. And when the word spread, do you think the parents of Jesus wondered why, mourned with those families, and had no answers? I do. Do you think they were scared? I do.
You know what’s also strange? The key motivator for Herod (and for many other agents of horror) was fear. He was afraid. And in the midst of all that fear, pain, and confusion the angel proclaimed to the shepherds: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people…and on earth PEACE…” We’re about to celebrate His birth and His peace in the midst of this pain – just as they did then.
I do not know why these horrors take place. I won’t tell you there’s a purpose for it. But I will tell you that God knows the pain, has seen the horror, and in the midst of it all offers an equally inexplicable Peace. You just have to take him up on it. Do you know Him?
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:4
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Revelation 21:4-5