December 17, 2012


The mass murder at the school in Newtown, CT on Friday has dominated the news and most of the blogs I read. Predictably, many Christian bloggers are talking about guns or mental health; political solutions to a problem that transcends politics.

I'm not going to advocate anything about those two issues in this post.

I want to go to the heart of the matter.

What kind of God would allow something like this to happen, and why?

On the surface it seems that God is at best an uncaring, absentee thought lord; allowing horrific tragedies and evils to occur, disrupting our lives, worldviews, and theologies.

But perhaps, these things are allowed to happen, not out of His apathy towards us, but out of a caring far deeper than we can comprehend.

Perhaps God does not want us to blindly follow one set of holy writings or another, creating an unthinking and unstable unity.

Maybe He wants us to learn to live with the world just as it is, the good and the unspeakably bad together.

Maybe He wants us to struggle with these things in our hearts and souls, seeking the true source of blame.

"Curse God, and die!" was the advice to Job. Millions of people curse God today, and yet they simply die the way the rest of us do.

"This is God's judgment!" cries another camp. Yet tragedies such as this, and even worse, happened in times when people were more religious.

So...Why? Why believe in a loving God? Why believe in anything at all? When things like the Newtown murders occur, for those people directly affected by that evil act, there is no proper answer for the moment. For those of us that are removed from the event by whatever degree, there is an answer.

"Love one another, as I have loved you."

"As You have loved me? I don't feel your love, God!"

'Love' as a word in English, is a very impoverished word, especially when it comes to God. Even if a language has multiple words for 'love', as Greek does, they are still impoverished words to speak of God's love. It encompasses emotions, actions, and vastly more than we can comprehend.

God's love comforts us in our darkest hours. It strengthens us in our best times. It demands that we comfort the afflicted, console the grieving, sit with the dying.

It forgives our anger when we curse Him for the evil things that occur in this world.

God's limitless love is here to bring our limited love closer to His concept of love.

So what now?

Senseless cruelty and murder has occurred in the season where we proclaim the joy of the birth of our Savior.

The best answer I can find is from an online discussion between a preacher friend and myself. He asked to quote a phrase I wrote in his sermon for Sunday, the Sunday of 'Joy' in Advent: "Not an easy subject to broach during the season in which we proclaim 'Joy.'Yet the Joy we proclaim was brought about in the life of a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief...and in the tragic and unjust execution of that man. And in that tragedy, our hope and joy is revealed.”

In his sermon, I read about the best answer we can have at these times: "Can we really have “Joy” in the midst of this pain and sorrow? In the face of this particular evil, can we defiantly say that we have “Joy?” Can we speak the words “How Great Our Joy” through clenched teeth and a tear stained face? If we believe what we say we believe about Jesus, then we have to. Today, we need to really believe it. We need to hold onto as tight as we can, because this kind of evil can kill everything in us without the hope, peace, joy and love that Jesus brings."

Let that line in bold sink in for a bit.

Not an easy thing to consider, but faith isn't meant to be easy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. Glory to God in the highest.

Grant them eternal rest.

Grant us peace.

Without the times of pain and agony, joy would be nearly meaningless.

Grant us peace and wisdom, Lord.

1 comment:

  1. I wish everyone could read this and understand it. Agape.