Once more this week, our hearts are broken over the loss of innocent life taken by a monster. As news updates kept coming into my phone today, I couldn’t fathom the loss and the pain of the families, specifically those of the 18 kindergartners who had their futures stolen from them.
We are painfully aware of the brokenness in our world. Days like today, it doesn’t matter someone’s religious views, we can look at the headlines and every human can agree: this is not the way that life is supposed to work. Men aren’t supposed to be able to go into schools, what should be one of the safest places for a child, and open fire. Students, regardless of grade, should not ever experience fear in a place they are required to go, especially where they have been promised safety. Parents aren’t supposed to get a phone call saying their sweet and innocent child is never coming home. Things are broken.
I recently had the privilege of attending a funeral of a woman who died in her 70’s, and at this funeral, many members of her family spoke, 11 in all, wrapping up with words from her husband. My wife and I never had the privilege to meet this lady, she had been battling cancer since before we arrived at our church. But I was moved to tears hearing the legacy this Mom had left in her children, her grandchildren, her nieces and nephews, and how much her husband loved her.
Today, 26 people had their legacy’s stolen from them.
It was a Monday night that this woman had died. That following Saturday was her youngest daughter’s wedding. When the Husband got up to speak, he asked “What kind of God takes the mother of the bride from the wedding?”
What kind of God let’s these things happen, that families tonight don’t get to go into their child’s bedroom to tuck them in and read a goodnight story? What kind of God steals little brothers and big sisters? How can he sit idly by and let horror’s enter our school and strike fear into our students?
I’ve seen hundreds of youth workers today ask “How do we approach this with our students?” Parents around the country who have asked “what do I say to my children?”
For me, today has been a painful reminder that we live in a Broken World. But it’s also been a reminder that there is a God who’s desire is to restore it.
When Job lost all of his family, his friends came and sat with him, in silence. When Jesus’ good friend Lazarus died, he came and wept with his sisters, despite knowing it would all be ok. Our world is Broken, it has been for a long time.
What kind of God lets these things happen? A God who is broken hearted the same way we are. A God who has plans beyond what we can fathom. A God who still sits on the throne in Heaven. A God who heals the brokenness.
For myself, as a Christian, my heart is broken, but my faith is not. I cling to the promise of God that in all things, he works for our Good (Romans 8:28). As a Christian, I know that God did not cause this brokenness, and if he had his way, it would not have been necessary to have happened. Don’t get me wrong, he is Omnipotent and capable of stopping it, but for reasons unfathomable by our finite minds, he didn’t.
I know that can be seen as a weak answer. You’re still left with the Question: How can God let these things happen? Good is supposed to come out of this?
Our God is the hope of restoration. The hope that someday, there won’t be anymore hurt, or pain, or loss, or tears. Our God is the God of peace, that says in Him, Death has lost it’s sting. The God who has said this world is Broken, but I offer a way of restoration. This tragic event can be redeemed.
My brain can’t fathom why a loving God would let this happen. My brain can’t fathom how that same God can redeem a situation like this.
But that is where I find hope. The Brokenness on display this week is bigger than one man in Connecticut, and one man in Oregon. It takes a big God to heal big things, and that’s the God I want to serve.
These events were not allowed by a God who is Angry at us like some Christians will try and tell you. God didn’t have a bone to pick with us, he wasn’t unleashing punishment.
These events were allowed by a God who is in Heaven saying “I love you and I want to make things right.”
The wrath of God is not a punishing blow on us, it’s him letting us destroy ourselves. He doesn’t want to send us a message that he is unhappy with us, he want’s us to come to him and be restored.
Our world is broken. It doesn’t always make sense, but don’t get mad at God, thats the easy way out. God is the one who is trying to restore it. As a Dad, one of the craziest thoughts to me is that God loves my son more than I do. I know this to be true and have to remember that. God is just as brokenhearted tonight as the parents of all of those children. But he wants to make all things new. Trust him to do so.