I, like everyone else, have been horrified and filled with a deep sense of sadness at the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Newtown, CT.
It seems that whenever death visits us in ways that seem too sudden and too horrible to contemplate, that we feel numbed and unable to know how to respond. When it is a distant event, separated by geography as yesterday’s event was for me, it seems apropos to perhaps post a status reminder on Facebook, or mention its horror in passing to our circle of acquaintances as we go on with our normal routines.
Yet, I, as most parents, likely hugged my kids a little closer last night, I was likely more patient with them this morning. (They could finger paint the house walls this morning but please don’t tell them that). That is our natural response.
How should we respond as believers to a tragedy like this when it happens far away? I would like to suggest 3 quick points for your consideration.
1. Pray. Pray that comfort and peace would be the portion for those families who have had their lives ripped apart. Pray that the God of all peace would bring comfort to those who are willing to call Him Father. Pray that those who do not know his peace can understand that true peace is available because of another death on our behalf, the death of His Son.
2. Trust. Remember that the Sovereign God, creator and designer of the universe has allowed this to happen for a purpose. Some day, we will understand, but not today. Today, we grieve.
3. Localize it. Death is the last enemy that each of us will face. When we are honest with ourselves, we realize that our end will be the same some day. To be sure, we may not face death at the end of a gun barrel in an elementary school, but we will face it nonetheless.
If we had known the events of yesterday were going to unfold in that school, every one of us would have done everything in our power to prepare for it and to prevent it, however possible. We know that it is “appointed” for each of us to die. Instead of living a life trying to avoid that truth, we should embrace it.
Then, when tragedy strikes, as it inevitably will, in our lives, in our communities and in our worlds, we will hear the words that all of us who are soul weary of this dark, sad and broken world are anticipating:
Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of Your Lord.
For that day we long. May every tragedy remind us of the hope that we have been called to.