“Peace on earth, good will to men,” the angels proclaimed.
“Do not fear, for lo, I am with you always,” comforted Jesus.
Televisions everywhere carried the horrifying news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The internet buzzed with accounts of terror. Vile. Repulsive. Appalling images of a world gone crazy.
I gazed at the nativity scene nestled beneath our Christmas tree. Its serenity whispered hope to me, but the television screamed fear and gut-wrenching sorrow. Yet, the scene of my Savior’s birth is as real to me as the gruesome scenes from Sandy Hook where the lives of precious children were snatched away. How can I resolve the disparity here? How can you? Why do bad things happen to good people?
I don’t know that I have the answers, but I do have some thoughts.
There is a pat answer among Christian circles: We live in a fallen world. Yes, that is true. And yes, to some degree, that is the answer to beat all answers…our world is full of sin. But, somehow, that answer does not satisfy me. Some questions need more than a pat answer.
This is what I know: My God is sovereign. My God is good and faithful. My God is eternal. We are physical beings living in a physical world, but our GOD is all about eternity. Every moment of every day is monumental to us. Every moment of every day is important to the Lord because it concerns us, but our days and the circumstances therein are but a snap of His fingers. His primary concern is that we spend eternity with Him in close, intimate fellowship. The fallen children of Sandy Hook Elementary School are now with Him. These parents and families are surrounded by His love. Was His Presence known in Sandy Hook on Friday morning? I think so. I believe His ministering angels held each of these children as they passed from this sin-filled earth into the waiting arms of their Heavenly Father. I believe He wept. I believe the power of His Presence penetrated the evil snare harboring Adam Lanzo’s heart and begged him to yield to the Father’s love. But the shooter would not. That’s the thing about our God. We all have free will. The shooter chose his free will that day.
This is what I know: Our God promises to work everything for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purposes. Everything. Even evil when it comes against His children. This I know.
In Deuteronomy 1:31, Moses is reminding the children of Israel of God’s goodness and faithfulness, even in the bad times, “and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son…”
In our darkest moments, God reveals Himself in clear details. His tender mercies flow from His love into the desperate places of His people. His mercy brings hope. And life. And peace. His shadow covers and shelters us from the brutal storms that rage against us. I have learned that when we walk close with the Lord, the darkness immediately surrounding us is but the shadow of His wing because His Presence is so near.
This I know: The Lord our God holds us until our hearts beat as one – until our hearts reverberate with the strength to face a new day.
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