Our hearts have been broken these past 36 hours as we have watched and learned about the horrific events which have taken place in Newtown, Connecticut. As some have watched, the question asked is “Where is God?” For others, this incident turns them to the place of pursuing God. This was evidenced by the response of one of the teachers who heroically acted to save the life of her classroom. You can read her story right here, but listen to what she said, “I said anyone who believed in the power of prayer, we need to pray and those who don't believe in prayer, think happy thoughts.” It is during events like this that many ask questions about God, higher powers, and evil. The question for those of us who love, know, and follow hard after God is “How should I respond?”
This is spiritual warfare. There is evil that is constantly happening in the world all around us. Because of the rule of Satan, there will always be darkness; as long as he is at work, terrible acts of violence, warfare, and sin will continue to happen! However, John reminds us, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). While Satan will win some battles, Christ has already won the war. The very thing we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of Christ, was an act of war as He came to defeat Satan, sin, and death. “In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world”-Jesus, John 16:33.
Jesus had a deep, special love for children. Throughout the gospels, Christ spoke often about injustices that angered him and his Father, but evil that was done to children was something of which Christ spoke in great detail. Justin Holcomb said it this way, “Jesus wants his followers to honor, protect, and care for those among them who are small and vulnerable, especially children.”
Therefore, when we are bothered by evil that is done to children, we are being Christ-like in our compassion for the helpless, the vulnerable, and the needy. All sin should bother us, including our own, remembering that God has called us to defend the weak that have been sinned against!
Don’t remain silent when you see something that concerns you. Big or small, God has called his followers to do hard things. While we don’t yet know the story behind this gunman, countless acts of violence and evil could have potentially been avoided if people who saw questionable things would have taken action and done the hard thing! When we see people who are bullied, we need to speak up. If we notice someone seems to be going through a dark patch in life or is responding differently than normal, ask some tough, caring questions. One of the greatest examples in the New Testament of someone who did not remain silent is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He saw a need, had every reason to ignore the need, and yet was moved to compassion. It is interesting that this is the example that Christ has given us for how to love our neighbor!
God cares about this more than we could ever imagine! While sometimes we may feel that God is silent or absent, He is not. As He rules, He has the perspective of knowing the past, present, and future, and acting with those things in mind. His passion for His glory displays itself through His care, protection, and love for His children, even if what we see from Him is not how we would define these terms. We can take comfort in these great words:
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!(Psalm 46:1-3)
If you are a parent, squeeze your children a little tighter next time you hug them. If you have friends or neighbors talking about this, embrace the conversation and share the hope that we have in Christ. While we certainly do not have all the answers, God has given us plenty to make sense of what is happening in the world around us. What a great opportunity for us to make the most of this tragic situation and redeem it as a great opportunity with those in our lives. Ultimately, the only way we can experience peace is to know the Prince of Peace, Jesus, and to have a personal relationship with Him. Knowing Jesus is what changes people, families, schools, and nations. Let’s share the good news, and let’s live it!