Where were you? I was at work when I heard the heartbreaking story that has given us all heavy and somber hearts. On Friday, a man walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire, killing 20 students and 6 adults.
In a culture and time where violence and tragedies of this sort are becoming alarmingly more frequent, this event struck especially home. Maybe it’s because I remember being in elementary school and the warm nostalgia that I get from memories on the playground and the ways my teachers strove to make learning exciting. Maybe it’s because I saw my younger brother and sister go through those years, excited about birthday parties and first crushes, a classroom full of friends and toy pigs. Maybe it’s because I have many friends who are parents to young children, and I know how deeply my own parents love me. Maybe it’s because many of my friends are under-appreciated teachers who pour their lives out for the young lives we entrust to them. Perhaps it was the fact that the helpless members of our society that look to us for protection were betrayed, and futures were snuffed out before potentials were reached. Anger, sadness, shock, frustration, confusion, helplessness, worry. All of these thoughts and emotions washed over me as my grief lead me to tears and to silently pray, “come, Lord Jesus!”
These are trying times. The world we live in still lays in the fall out of sin, and we daily feel the effects of it, maybe more so tonight. It leads us to cry out in anguish, “where are you, God? Why did this happen? Why didn’t you stop this?”
There’s a song that tugs at my hearts in moments like this, a haunting song that recognizes the brokenness we all feel and experience. I encourage you to listen to it all the way through:
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep.
What we need now are not cute answers with bows on them. In the next few weeks, we will have many discussions about gun control and the level of safety at our schools and public places, and those discussions certainly need to occur. But what we need tonight is to lament. It is a very biblical response to times such as this. Lament that evil is a reality and we still experience injustice and brokenness and pain. Lament that tonight there will be empty seats at dinner tables and drenched pillows. Lament that sadly, this may not the be last time we hear of tragedy like this.
We lament knowing that our cries reach out to a God who hears his people, who loves them, and is willing and able to act in incredible ways. Indeed, God the Father experienced his own anguish as he sent his Son to a culture that unjustly murdered him. The Father looked down as Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” before he died. This same Father of the now-risen King Jesus now sends the Comforter through Jesus to us who are now his children. Our God upholds the needy, embraces the destitute and comforts those who mourn. Friends, he does care. He most certainly loves us. And this breaks his heart as much as it does ours.
We don’t know why this happened. But it’s not right. Evil is real. So is our God, and he is strong. As we pray for the children, parents, teachers and school officials, and those who are ministering to the wounded, broken and hurting, we also mourn and lament as we look forward to the day when our King returns to restore everything. When tears and sorrow will be no more.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!