Tragedy in Connecticut: Why?
I am seething.
As a father of four, everything in me wants to wrap my hands around the neck of this man who harmed those innocents today.
Anger may be my first response. When kids are hurt, anger is appropriate. But then we begin to walk through a whole range of emotions and responses.
- I am enraged at the thought of one man’s actions tearing apart the lives of so many. I don’t care what factors contributed to his state of mind. No one gets to hurt kids. Ever.
- I am crushed at the thought of what those families are going through. I cannot begin to understand the agony they are facing. The thought is too much to bear.
- I’m confused. How could God be God in this world soaked in senseless violence? It just doesn’t make sense.
Senseless tragedy causes us to ask some heavy-duty questions.
Why did this happen?
- We live in a fallen world. Sin is ugly, and sometimes it makes an unfiltered appearance in our world. Make no mistake about it, the devil’s plan for this world is to tear us apart.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy… (John 10:10)
The devil’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy those who God loves. He is good at it. Sometimes he finds a willing accomplice to carry out his will.
In this time of grace, lodged between the resurrection and the return of Christ, we experience the results of both limitless love and of utter, unthinkable selfishness. We know, however, that this time is limited. Some day the window of choice will be shut. The age of grace will be over. We will spend the rest of eternity with the consequences of the decisions we have made here on earth.
Today we are reeling from the reality of sin, which has reared its head in senseless violence.
Someday we will fully know the reality of the second part of John 10:10.
…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Today it is hard to believe.
Why didn’t God stop it?
- I don’t know.
- I wish I did.
- I might never find out why.
I won’t give you some nicely wrapped answer. I understand that God has granted us a great degree of choice, free will, in this world in which we live. This allows us to ascend to the heights of faith and love, as well as descend into the very pit of hell.
However, when I’m freshly confronted with horrors of this nature, I find it difficult to reconcile in my mind. I think, “If I were God, I would have stopped it.” This, and a million other reasons, are why I am not God. I do not fully comprehend His ways. I do know, however, that the presence of evil in this world does not diminish His goodness.
What happened to those children?
- They are in the arms of the One who created them.
They are experiencing no pain right now. Instead, they are receiving the perfect comfort of their Father in Heaven. They lack nothing. They do not want. They are not afraid. They are at perfect peace.
How do we know children go to heaven?
God’s Word is clear regarding children and eternity.
In a culture that viewed children as more of a nuisance than a treasure, Jesus welcomed them into his presence.
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-3)
The innocence of children, as well as God’s love for them, is featured here and multiple other places in Scripture.
There is a biblical concept called, “the age of accountability”. While all children are born with a sinful nature, and are born into a world of sin, they are also considered blameless by God until they reach a certain age. (Deuteronomy 1:39) When children are born, they do not fully perceive the difference to make right and wrong. Eventually, each person arrives at an age where we do understand, and we are morally “of age”. We understand our actions and are culpable for the consequences. Kindergartners are certainly under that age.
God is perfectly just, and does not allow the innocent to go to hell any more than he allows the guilty to go to heaven.
Weep for these children. But realize that the trauma has ended for them. Pray for their families, and for those precious little ones who survived. Pray that God will help them bear and heal from this trauma.
What happened to the shooter?
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” (Matthew 19:14) Jesus advocated for the weak and defenseless his entire ministry. He had words of warning for those who would render harm to others. Speaking of those who cause others to stray in their young faith, he said,
“Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.
It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:2)
Jesus said that it’s better to face certain, unpleasant death than to lead a new believer astray. I would not want to have to stand before this God of ours after hurting a child.
All throughout Scripture we are assured of God’s goodness and His justice.
The shooter did not escape the consequences of his actions by death. He escaped his chance to accept grace and forgiveness for his awful acts. He stepped from the scene of the crime into the throne room of God. He will face judgment.
“God can not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)
We’re also told in Psalms:
The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Even in the face of senseless tragedy, God is still God. Although it appears He is not present, He is. He is the One who knew the number of every hair on those victims’ heads. He is aware of every ounce of pain they experienced, and what their families are going through now. In fact, He even knows what it is like to know that your child is suffering.
This God we serve is not aloof. He is not callous. He is actively comforting and consoling those families whose lives have been torn apart by the temporary victory of the evil one.
In the end, the devil will not win. He has already been defeated. For now he will wound all he can. But there will come a day when he will cease from his work.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
The devil will cause as much pain as he can in this world. Christ has already defeated him. The cross and the empty tomb ensured it. God has allowed a time of opportunity for people to either accept or reject him. While the devil, “strikes the heel” for now, someday his “head will be crushed” upon the return of Christ.
Are you troubled by this tragedy? You should be. Sin should never make sense.
- Seek Him as your refuge.
- Cry out to Him for comfort.
- Don’t forget to lift up these hurting families in prayer. They need it.
Need comfort & hope?