At bedtime last night, I flopped down and snuggled up with my daughter on her bed. We talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. She asked about some of the details, and I explained that 6 year olds were shot and killed by a boy who then killed himself. We lay there in the dark for a while, silent. Then she asked, “Why?” Of course there is no good answer to that. We prayed.
The terrible losses we ALL are feeling put us in touch with a kind of suffering that so much of the world faces daily. Many across the globe wonder if their children will live to see tomorrow, due to starvation, disease, poverty, or mortar shells. The world can be such a harsh and difficult place for children. Through the Connecticut tragedy we have a new kind of solidarity with the pain so many face every day. And all of it heightens our awareness for how much the world – and we ourselves – need a savior. We have a keener sense of our depravity, of the world’s darkness, of how much we need to “see a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Christmas is the promise that the Light comes. It is the promise of a faithful God to come among us. It is the promise of a savior who is rescuer, redeemer, and friend in time of trouble. Jesus comes to save us from – and IN – this mess.
As we continue to find help and hope in the aftermath of the Connecticut tragedy, I would encourage anyone to turn to the Lord through Scripture. These kinds of events are significant opportunities because our pain opens up doors which are otherwise shut tight. Psalm 23, 27, 46, and 103 are great places to start. When your heart is cast about or sinking in the rough waters of the world, the words of Romans 8 will buoy your soul.
I thought I would gather up and offer a few resources in the hope that some of them may prove helpful to you personally and also as you look for ways to witness to the hope and joy and peace of Christ with others.
First, here is a brief recording of something I shared on 95.1 Shine FM last Friday afternoon, in answer to the question, “Where is God?”
Here is a previous blog post which offers some perspective and encouragement about the God who weeps with us in our suffering.
Here is the message I delivered at Mountain Christian Church this past weekend. It says the presence and love of God is exactly what we need right now – and that is what Emmanuel means. We long for a world that offers something better, a world where “The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” (Zechariah 8:5) These lines from ”Away in a Manger” seem particularly apt this year:
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there