Sorrow. Confusion. Bitterness. Rage….Hope.
These emotions seem random and when linked together they certainly seem out-of-place. Yet, I, along with most of us, experienced these and so many more today in the wake of one of the most heinous, senseless, cowardly and utterly wicked actions I’ve ever heard of in the Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
To be totally honest, I’m still numb. My stomach is still uneasy and I’m having trouble putting thoughts to my keyboard right now. Like you, I shed tears today as I picked up my kids from the school line and saw all of those bright faces while all the while I was listening to the reports come in. I held my family closer and tighter than usual and I felt guilty for not doing so before this demonic act hit the airwaves and reminded me to adjust my priorities.
I think we all got a taste of what Jesus felt at the news of Lazarus death as He wept.
Strange thing is, of all the emotions that flooded my soul today, there was one that didn’t…. Shock.
I think that may be what really shakes me to the core. It was some of the most miserable news you could possibly hear. Children murdered. Teachers murdered. Life lost in the cruelest of fashions….and though it hurt, though it rocked me…it didn’t shock me.
No, I didn’t wake up expecting to hear of this vile act, nor did I do so the other day as a deranged man opened fire in a Oregan Shopping Mall. Nor….well, we can go on and on (Check the headlines concerning what took place in a Chinese School today). I didn’t expect it….but it didnt shock me.
How could this not shock me? That’s a question I’ve been contemplating for the past few hours.
Could it be that I’ve grown so accustomed to tragedy, that it’s so frequent I’ve grown numb to it? Have I been so enamored by the atrocities we see seemingly daily that I’ve grown cynical. I don’t know that I can answer that right now.
I do know this…we have a problem. Tragedy after tragedy I’m reminded of that fact. The problem we have has been present since Genesis and continues to rear its gnarly head today. Our problem in sin. It’s the root.
How do we prevent atrocities as we’ve seen today? I’ve heard the knee-jerk responses. They all serve as band-aids on a gaping wound. “Staff our schools with extra security?”, said one friend. Will that put a definite end to this madness? No. Another remarked, “Thats it. I’m removing my child from school”. I wholly support you in doing so if that is your conviction but evil knows no boundaries and will not cease and desist at the Schools property line. “Eradicate the ownership of guns” said a radio commentator. Folks, I am a gun owner. Multiple guns, actually. I enjoy them and have trained my family to use them responsibly. We enjoy shooting sports immensely and I’ll gladly admit that not only do we enjoy the sense of protection that comes with owning firearms, we enjoy time together shooting recreationally….and in all that I’d also say that if I knew that banning firearm ownership would bring an end to madness such as what we’ve seen and heard today, I’d gladly and willingly give up every gun I own. But it wouldn’t. Criminals and evil men have never nor will they ever obey laws.
As well-intentioned as these “solutions” are, at the end of the day they are band-aids. There could be functionality in them, maybe even temporary relief but they will not heal a wound.
Call it Preacher talk if you will, but we need Jesus. We, particularly as a nation, are far from Him. You see that clearly in our casual…even carnal lives. You see it in our prejudice. You see it in our trivial pursuits. You see it in our normalization of what God has deemed unholy. Yes, You see it in our tragedies.
We desperately need Jesus.
Just so it’s clear I’m not blogging for an amen from the front row….I’m not talking about the unbelieving world only.
I’m dealing here with those who profess Christ. We’re constantly dismayed when we see a world without Christ go mad yet completely unconcerned that a world without Christ sees us living with little to no regard for the Word of God and the example of Christ. Men who are called to serve as the Priest of their homes have become little more than functional atheist, professing Christ but not walking in His truth or leading our wives and children in righteousness. Obedience to Gods call to assemble together for corporate worship has taken the backseat to ballgames, shopping and other silly, trite activities. We pray only when we need something and search the Scriptures only when it’s convenient. We sit by idly as those around us perish and enter the wrath of God while we have the only answer for their eternal futures…the Word of Truth in hand. We battle one another over menial and might I add stupid differences while Jesus said that “they will know you belong to me by the way you love one another”. God help us. We need Jesus.
If the Church will be the Church, will violence cease? No. This world will not know peace until the Prince of Peace Himself comes again to establish it….but I’ll tell you this. The more people experience the saving grace that Christ alone provides, the better off we will all be.
I realize that these thoughts are rather strung together and I don’t know if they’ll penetrate a single heart but it’s where I am right now. Please, in the wake of this tragedy, examine your own heart. Measure your life by truth. Follow Jesus and do all that you can to ensure you’re taking as many people with you on that journey as you can. In the grand scheme of things, that’s all that matters.
Come Quickly, Lord Jesus.