Sorrow. Grief. Anger. Sadness. How to respond to the tragedy of 20 young deaths and 6 faculty of the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut?
My mind continuously wanders back and forth to the reality of the pain and dreams that have been shattered.
How are we as followers of Jesus to respond to such a nightmare? Here are a few thoughts…
We begin by following Paul’s admonition to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Christlikeness is a life of compassion. Jesus constantly had compassion on those suffering in pain. The burden of compassion always elicits response. A response of prayer as well as seeking a way to help. Let’s pray fervently for the families devastated. I was so encouraged to learn that several from BACC spontaneously gathered Friday evening to pray for the people of Newtown. And let’s be seeking opportunities to tangibly show the love of Jesus.
Weep and mourn, yes…panic and confusion, no. When events like this happen, it raises the age-old question of the problem of evil. Yes, evil is real. And no, we shouldn’t be surprised by it. Ever since Genesis 3 sin abounds. The world system, our flesh, and the devil all combine to bring about horrific displays of evil and suffering in this world. But for the grace of God, so go each of us. Evil is here until Jesus comes again to bring about His rule of shalom and righteousness on the earth. So let’s grieve, pray and mourn for those caught in the dangling net of sin and evil, but let’s not be shaken in our faith.
In times like this, a tower of strength is to remember that God is absolutely sovereign. He is in control even if it doesn’t seem so. In the midst of his sovereignty, He makes allowances for things like this. We see in a mirror dimly and can’t begin to understand the “why” of Sandy Hook Elementary School. But faith says that God will use this to accomplish His purposes. And His purposes are always good. Thus, our response is one of faith. Faith that God is at work. Expectation that God is going to break in. Hope that His kingdom will be advanced.
How someone goes through this without a relationship with Jesus and a faith community to shoulder the pain is beyond me. My prayer for the family of Bay Area Community Church is that we would be filled with compassion and prayer, unshaken by the proliferation of evil, and filled with faith that Jesus often does His best work in the midst of tragedies like this.