Thursday, December 20, 2012
I have been trying to put together words that go with my heart regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy, but they all have seemed empty and senseless. It's heartbreaking to wrap our minds around the horror that those babies, staff, teachers, parents and community at large experienced on Friday. It's just all so senseless. It's easy as a mommy to imagine a minuscule portion of the pain these parents experienced last Friday. I've hugged my children closer and tighter, played longer, breathed in their scent and prayed silent prayers, while vacilating between feeling so relieved that they are safe and so guilty that they are safe. I awoke Saturday morning and tears pricked my eyes as my first thoughts went to the tragedy, and I wondered over those parents - whether they had slept at all, whether they had been tranquilized to escape the horror for a moment, whether they were even able to get out of bed at all.
This is not how it should be.
It's not right that so many little lives were snuffed out at that small elementary school in Connecticut, and that many of the lives that were spared now have traumatic scars that they will carry with them to their graves. How can they possibly forget what they saw, heard and smelled inside that building? It's injust. Injustice - especially to children - makes my blood burn and my heart pound. It makes me angry and twists my insides. Yet tragedies and horrific events like this continue to happen all over our world. The vast amount of human pain around our globe is simply incalculable. Daily, children are dieing. They are being murdered - shot and killed and raped and exploited. Thousands draw their last breath every single day as their hollow, empty stomachs ache and starvation finally steals their life. Children are being trafficked and maimed, abused and manipulated. It is happening in our country, and it is happening around our world. Evil is blindingly real.
We live in a broken mess of a world. This is not how it should be, or was intended to be, but it's how it is. There is no escaping it. To really delve into the mess brings about fear and pain and anger and questions. It's hard to know how to respond to something like this. It's hard to know how to respond as a human, as a parent, and as a Jesus follower. As Christians, so many times we shy away from the mess, or we try to band aid it with our Christian platitudes. But I am learning that it's okay to not have pat answers. It's okay to just sit in the middle of their pain and cry and hurt. I have no doubt that on Friday, and even now, my God, whom is such a loving perfect Daddy, was heartbroken for the horrible pain that embraced and surrounded the whole community of Sandy Hook. I also know that He is so very close to the brokenhearted, but what exactly that means or looks like, I am not sure. And why God allowed this to happen and allows so many other senseless tragedies in our world to happen, I am not sure.
And that's okay.
Sometimes there is no explanation. My husband preached at our church on Sunday. Our church has been going through advent together - pondering through the lineage of Jesus leading up to his birth on Christmas. I was proud of Jim for being brave and wise enough to set aside the advent message he had prepared for Sunday and rather speak a gut-wrenching and grace-ful message in light of Friday's tragedy. Sometimes we can ignore the world around us and carry on like nothing happened. But Jim paused and entered the mess. He prayed for the families that lost loved ones by name, and he delved into the life of Job. Job is a book of the Bible that so intimately discusses the aspects of human suffering. The whole book is devoted to suffering. What struck me the most was that God never revealed the reason for Job's suffering. Job's friends tried to give him an explanation, and his wife did as well, but all of their pat answers and pointing fingers were wrong. I think the lesson in Job, is that so many times we just cannot and are not given the answer for suffering.
My heart knows there is hope. It trusts in the Hope. I know that my God sees the beginning from the end, and that He is weaving and working to redeem this suffering and this hurtful world we live in, to make it new again. I know that in the end, He will establish His perfect kingdom, and that the suffering will cease. I know that my Jesus is near to the broken hearted. I know He is in the middle of this mess. I know that He was born and lived and suffered and died in the middle of our mess. He is not a stranger to our suffering.
But I don't know the answer to the whys of all of this hurt and suffering. Neither can I see from my vantage point how God is weaving all of this into the Ultimate story. Do I know He is weaving and writing and orchestrating? Yes, I do. But I don't know how.
All I know is that this is not how it should be. I know that the suffering and pain is immense, and that God is big enough to handle our pain, hurts, doubts, fears, and tears. I know that pat answers and trite Christian statements are hurtful and even unloving sometimes when these tragedies strike. I am going to silently trust Jesus in this, and wrap my arms around the mess the best way I know how. Sometimes that means just sitting in the middle of the hurt and mingling tears with those who suffer.
And that's okay.
Like never before I am eagerly anticipating Advent - the coming of Jesus, when all of this mess will forever be cleaned up and finally the world will be righted.
Come Jesus. Be near.