A Nation Grieves
Words to adequately describe the events in Newtown in the past few days do not exist. For the heroes who did their best to protect the innocent children who were massacred, “grateful” is a woefully insufficient description.
It was an almost immediate response for many to politicize the tragedy, but this is not the time for the political discussion. Whether the fault lies with “guns” or with the “moral decline” of this nation is a dispute in which we will gladly engage at another time, but it is appalling to use these beautiful, innocent, babies and their families to make points. This is a time for compassion and support for those who have suffered the loss.
Today, we grieve. We grieve for what the shooter did to others, but we also grieve for his family, who lost son, brother, and mother in the shooting, and must carry the family name for the balance of their lives.
I have a two adult daughters and a 9-year old granddaughter. As I watched and listened to the news reports this past week, all I wanted to do was embrace all of them. I wanted to tell each of them, one more time, how much love I have for them and that nothing else in the world mattered.
We know who, we know how, we know what, we know when, and we know where. We will never understand the why. The shooter’s personality and mental condition will be sliced and diced by the pseudo-experts over the days and weeks ahead, but, at the end of the day, their opinions may be “educated,” but they are just guesses. Only he knew why he did what he did
Death is never an easy subject to grasp, even for adults. The death of a child is, emotionally, even worse. King David was a man of war. He was accustomed to men around him dying. But, when the death of Absalom, his son, was reported to him, the Scripture says he was “shaken.” He wept, and cried out what every parent of every child who dies has said, “If only I had died instead of you….” (2 Samuel 18:33).
This tragedy comes in the midst of the celebration of the birth of a baby, a unique child, the Son of God. He, too, was killed senselessly and without just cause. But, His death was part of the plan of God, and he rose after three days as He had promised he would. Paul reminds us that believers in Jesus Christ do not “grieve as those who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Note that he did not say we would not grieve. The separation, the hopes, dreams, plans and futures that will not be realized, the senselessness of an untimely death, cause us to hurt, to grieve, to mourn.
It is right and appropriate that we do, however, because we believe that because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, we have hope that we will be reunited. It is that hope to which we cling. It is that hope we offer as comfort to grieving parents. Innocent children were slaughtered, they are with God, and we live in HOPE.
To all in Newtown, and to all who grieve, we offer a prayer from the famous Christmas Carol, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.”