After the unthinkable tragedy today at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, I think we are all speechless. There are no words that bring comfort after such a horrible act against innocent children and school staff. With a precious son who will start kindergarten next year, I cannot imagine the feeling of a completely shattered heart like many of these parents are feeling today.
As I’ve been processing this senseless act, I am left shaken. How in the world could someone do something so evil to precious, innocent children? What is happening to our world? How am I supposed to protect my children when we can’t even go to the mall, a movie, or to school without the threat of violence and death?
I have no answers, but a small amount of comfort in the thought of “holding tight”.
Hold tight to our children.
A few weeks ago, I taped a sign to the top of my computer that says: “Be present. You are not guaranteed tomorrow and neither are they” (meaning my kids). I noticed that I was spending a little bit too much time on the computer and not enough uninterrupted time with my kids. I taped this little sign to act as a continual reminder to “be present”, even when seemingly pressing matters are battling for my attention via the world wide web.
For those of us not directly affected by this tragic event: We need to be thankful for the fact that we have our children today and hug them tight. Treasure them. Cherish them. Teach them about God…He is the only thing that is certain in this life and the only thing that can bring Light into such a dark world.
Tragedies such as this have a way of putting life in perspective. We can stare at the images on our television screen and even bawl our eyes out (as I did this afternoon), but then a few hours or days later go on with our lives as normal. We cannot, however, water down this great tragedy by simply considering it a “reality check” for those of us not directly affected. We must recognize that for at least twenty-seven families, this is the end of the world as they knew it. Their lives will be forever changed by the events that took place today. If we neglect to lift them up in prayer in the days and weeks to come, we are discounting their unthinkable loss.
Hold tight to each other.
In a time of tragedy, we need each other. Even if we were not directly affected, there is a feeling of uncertainty all around that leaves us all needing the comfort of community.
Apart from family, I know of no better community than that of the church. Not a single church is perfect (because it is filled with imperfect people), but Jesus is the ultimate Unifier. If you are not currently part of a church community, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to one.
As members of the church, we must be “first responders” when tragedy strikes. We must be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are His ambassadors on earth, after all (2 Cor. 5:20).
Hold tight to our God.
It is so difficult to imagine how God could allow such a terrible act to happen, other than to recognize that we live in a fallen world, where the Enemy “prowls like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In a world of free will, very rarely is God’s will done unless we are actively seeking it. Although Jesus is the light of the world, John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We are also assured by Jesus himself that we will not be spared of trials and tribulations in this world (John 16:33).
Although we don’t understand the events of today, we can trust that our God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He promises to comfort those who mourn (Matt. 5:4). He is our refuge and strength and an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). God himself understands the searing agony that comes from the death of a child.
I don’t know about you, but when I heard of these acts I was ANGRY. It brings my soul satisfaction to know that as much as He is a loving and merciful God, He is also just and will bring judgement upon the man who committed this heinous act (Psalm 7:11).
The following words penned by the “beloved disciple” about where each of these precious children are residing tonight and the future that awaits all of us who put our faith in Christ brings me great comfort. The lap of Jesus is full with 20 precious children in Paradise tonight.
“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. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” -Revelation 21: 4-5