Friday, December 14, 2012

A Time to Mourn

There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven –
A time to give birth and a time to die …
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Our nation sits in shock tonight, after witnessing the horrific murder of 20 sweet little souls in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, this morning.

Twenty children, ages five through nine, went off to grade school this morning with all the excitement and enthusiasm that grade school children have in anticipation of Christmas vacation. Among them was a little boy named Tain: the son of my friend, Sophfronia Scott. Also headed off to that same school this morning was a 20-year old young man with three guns and murder on his mind.

Tain was one of the lucky ones. His life was spared. However, 20 other children were not so lucky, including, quite possibly, the child of one of Sophfronia’s friends. Earlier today that parent had not yet heard their child’s fate.

So tonight the family and friends of those 20 sweet little souls sit in stunned silence, mourning as they try to comprehend that their children (grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews) will not be here to open Christmas presents in 10 days; will never be coming home again.

Instead, the bodies of those children, along with the six other adults who were killed, as well as the perpetrator of those murders, still lay on the floor of the school where they died this morning. Waiting for the crime scene to be processed. Waiting for the coroner to collect them. Waiting for their loved ones to identify them and claim them as their own.

“How can this be God’s plan for me?”
~ Soul Surfer

As I process this quote from the movie Soul Surfer, I will say that I never really thought about my life from that perspective: How could all of the trauma of my past be God’s plan for my life? And how could the murder of 20 innocent children be God’s plan for their lives? For the lives of their siblings? Parents? Grandparents? I wish I knew the answer to that question, but I am afraid that it is a question without answer.

Proverbs 3:5 instructs us to …

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

So much easier said than done in a situation like this. Beyond easier said than done. For some, impossible.

As I listen to the Christmas carols that are playing on my CD player right now, I am absolutely void of feeling. Not because they are not beautiful. Not because they are not an expression of love for God or an expression of joy for the birth of Christ. Rather, I am numb because my heart breaks for all of the families whose lives were forever changed today by the evil act of one individual. An act that we will never understand …

At least not in this lifetime.

O Father in Heaven, Giver and Sustainer of all life, please be near those who hurt and mourn tonight. Comfort them. Strengthen them. Love them. Make Yourself known to them in a way they can comprehend, both now and forevermore.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
~ Job 1:21

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