Herbs & Things

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Herbs & Things

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Tragedies and Jesus

It's common knowledge, what happened in our country this past Friday morning in a small town school in Newtown, CT. When I first heard of the news, I'll admit, it's not something that hit me instantly. It was just "another school shooting". I felt no pain, no hurt. I was angry, of course. But I had absolutely no connection to what was going on. The busy morning consumed me and I didn't even give it a second glance.

It wasn't until that afternoon, around 1:30, that I stopped what I was doing to see if the news articles had been updated, to see if it was real or if it had just been a cruel sick hoax, to see how many had been injured or, heaven forbid, killed. And when I switched to a new tab in my web browser and typed in "msn.com", I instantly saw the headline "18 children dead", and my heart completely sank as the death toll continued to rise. When I think of a school shooting, I think of high school. After all, the one year of high school that I attended in a public school was completely overwhelming and I witnessed more incidences of violence than I have in my entire life. But this, this was different. Not that teenagers are any less special than elementary school students. But this was different -- these were innocent 6 and 7 year old children. These children were only a few years older than my little one. They probably had no clue what was going on, what was happening, or what they should do....where they should, or could go. These were teachers and school administrators who had those same exact thoughts going through their heads, not the "how do I get out of here" but, "how do I protect the children in MY classroom". These were children incapable of imagining such a horrendous act against them. And yet, they had to live and die through it. But there was more....
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Of course, the first thing that the politicians said was not a silent sigh of heartache and a "I'm sorry for this tragedy that has befallen this town". No, their response was "take guns away, allow more guns in public areas, it's the mothers fault, it's the killers fault...."

So who's fault is it after all, and does it really matter? Does it matter if we have more guns or less guns? Could this act have been prevented? Is it simply an act of evil, or of mental illness?

Mike Huckabee posted a fantastic video on facebook today titled, Where Was God?. He talked about how we've allowed God to be taken out of everything, yet in times of tragedy, we wonder "where He's gone". Yet we're the ones that have pushed him away. I urge you to view it and let it sink in.

On the other hand, there's more to this story, I think. I think it goes back long before Friday mornings event. We watched the news while this story unfolded. We saw one news station report one thing, and a different news station report something totally different. But the one constant that I saw was hurt, and along with that hurt, churches and people of all different types of denominations coming together for these people that had been directly affected. It was uplifting. It was amazing to see the body of Christ (and others, I'm sure), come together and help these people (and are still helping these people). But where were we before the tragedy?

I wonder if some of these same people saw each other on a daily, weekly, even monthly basis, and never spoke a word to one another...maybe they didn't even crack a smile because of their own personal issues or busy schedules. I wonder if some of them were friends on facebook, but never made eye contact in public, never picked up the phone to make small talk. I wonder if some of them crossed paths with Adam Lanza from time to time, but brushed him off because his mother called him a "problem child". I wonder what  I would've done. I wonder what Jesus would've done.

I think we miss a lot of opportunities, church. Myself very much included in this. I think we've missed what we've been put on this earth for. It's not about gun control, it's not about new laws or old ones, it's not about why he killed 20 innocent children or how or if he had mental issues at the time.

What matters is this....

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. 
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love."
[1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message]

What matters is this....

"We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. 
And the best of the three is love."
[1 Corinthians 13:12-13, The Message]

Did we scoff? Did we shun? Did we ignore? Were we fearful? Were we too caught up with our daily life that we just didn't pay attention, or worse, we just didn't care? Do we care? Do we love, or just think about love? Are we too caught up in ourselves, in the "me" of life, in our own little worlds, that we forget about everyone else....that we forget about the charge that Jesus gave to us in Matthew and through out the Bible? Have we forgotten our purpose? Have we forgotten how to love?

I cried the entire way home from the office that afternoon. I mean, a deep heart wrenching cry. A pain in my soul that caused me to cry out to God, not asking Him why, but as a mother, asking that He would give those parents strength to get through the heartache that they are feeling right now because of someone else's permanent decision and action on a temporary emotion. Because of the lack of Jesus in him. Because of the lack of Jesus shown to him. My heart ached for the teachers and administrators who lost their lives, not knowing whether they knew Jesus or not. It's a real thing, and if it hasn't crossed your mind as a Christian, it should. My heart ached for those children who must have been so scared during those fatal moments -- for the students who were fatally wounded, and for those who had to witness it.

I pray that the church doesn't draw away from these families over the next few weeks, months, years. I hope, especially for the children who witnessed this event, that we will be a better witness to them, a better light....because they have a long road ahead of them. Their lives are forever changed. I pray for every parent who has to send their child to school every morning with that fear in their heart, that they would be comforted and know that Jesus is our protector and our strength. And I pray for the church, I pray for myself, I pray for  my fellow Christian friends, and for you....that we would come together in our communities and reach out to families we wouldn't normally reach out to, simply because it's the right thing to do....not just because a tragedy has happened. Simply because it's what Jesus would do...

Mourn with those who mourn, yes. But then what? Will we go back to our own lives, our busy schedules, our 'stressful' lives? Will we pass by that sweet soul on the sidewalk -- that person who's dealing with a deep hurt and evil, and not even be that witness to them? A simple, "hey, God's thinking about you today", can change a persons life. If nothing else, will we not even pray for them in our own private time? Do we forget about our own daily private time with God?

My heart hurts for them -- for the teachers, the administrators, the children (alive and gone), the police officers, the EMT's, the parents, the community, even the one we're calling a psycho path. Because believe it or not, God cared about him. Jesus loves him more than we can ever imagine. And as I think of the hurt and pain that our Father in heaven must feel for this lost soul, I can't help but let tears stream down my face. It must be ten times more than the pain we are all feeling right now. I can't even imagine....

Come quickly Lord Jesus, and until then, let us be Your light in this aching world.

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