Tonight I tucked my preschooler and my two-year-old into their beds and kissed them good night. Just like I did last night. And the night before. And the night before that. But because of one man’s evil deed, each kiss is just a little bit sweeter, each tuck just a little bit tighter.
I am a writer, so my thoughts have to be put to the page. But I have sat on these thoughts for a couple of days in order to process the emotions that have swept over me at the loss of these babies, these small children so eager to learn, so excited about Christmas, so new to life.
My life revolves around children who are around the ages of those we have lost. I am a mom; I care for other children in my home; I am a nursery worker; and I am a children’s church worker. My husband and I have started an orphan ministry; we are adoptive parents; we hope to adopt more children. And our hearts are broken.
I have been reading some of the responses on Facebook, read blogs crying out for more gun control or less gun control, and heard people say, “Yeah, but what about all those aborted babies that the media refuses to speak about?” All around this tragedy is noise – a clamor of voices refusing to listen for the one voice we need to hear – God’s.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” – I Kings 19:11b-12
God wants us to be quiet! He wants us to take this time to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15b). Yes, there needs to be discussion about what should be done to protect our children from future events like the one in Connecticut. Yes, we need to uphold the sanctity of life and seek to turn people’s hearts to hear the cries of the unborn babies. And I will stand there with you at the front lines to fight those much-needed fights!
But perhaps in our attempt to place blame on someone for this demonic act (for how can we call it anything else?), we have lost sight of those children, teachers, and personnel who needlessly lost their lives on Friday. All I have been able to think about is that their mothers chose to give them life, chose to love them and watch them grow. They don’t need us using their tragedy to cry out in a political debate! They don’t need to hear our angry tirades or what we would have done to the “villain” in their life stories. They don’t need us to post pictures of their loved ones if they choose to keep those memories private.
What they need is for us to love them, pray for them, and cry with them – even if they choose to keep the details to themselves and mourn alone. Don’t they have the right to grieve in their own way? The majority of us did not know the victims, yet I am seeing a disturbing intrusion into the lives of people who didn’t ask to be made a public spectacle. We can mourn with them and send our condolences without intruding on a very private moment in their lives. We can allow them a season of grief.
I read a Christian blog this weekend where the author had no words of comfort to give to these families. I am sad for that author because there are words – from God our Father, who created these sweet babies, knew how long their lives would last, and was not surprised by the tragedy.
“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die” (Is. 57:1-2).
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (II Cor.1 :3-4).
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jer. 29:11).
“If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chr. 7:14).
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’” (Matt. 19:14).
I don’t know why evil was allowed to prevail on Friday, and I agree that God seems silent at times like this. But I know the character of my God. He is not unmoved by these events. Sin is allowed to reign for a season; but God has promised us a day of rejoicing if we will just trust in Him. Don’t use this tragedy as a reason to run away from God; rather, run into His arms! He’s waiting for you!
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches
Till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
– “Does Jesus Care” (words by Frank Graeff; music by J. Lincoln Hall)