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Where Is God In Sandy Hook?

Where Is God In Sandy Hook?

I heard about it from Facebook. Two posts from friends, lamenting with shock the horror of some children being killed in school. Amazing how in this day and age the news of horror unfolding can travel so quickly. And yet, no matter how you get it, horror is horror.

The news of the murder of 20 young children and numerous adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost knocked the breath out of me. After the initial reports, I couldn’t watch any more. Couldn’t listen to the details, couldn’t look at the pictures. The faces of devastation, the mind-numbing sorrow…it’s just all too close for me. Too close to the death of my own child, just five months ago. Though every experience of tragedy is different, there is a great human homogenizer. It’s called pain.

All of the questions and “why did it happen” theories have now begun, with this horrendous school tragedy. What could cause someone to do this? How could it have been prevented? Where is God in all of this? People will be trying to ban guns, and waxing intense about the dangers of violent video games, and claiming that God has been pushed out of schools as attempts to address the “why”. But none of them are the reasons why.

God didn’t cause 5-year-olds to die because of being pushed out of public schools any more than He made my baby die because I’ve pushed Him out of my life (which I have done many times).

The reason it happened is because of sin. Not any one person’s sin, or even a group’s sin, but because of humanity’s sin. Sin with a capital S. Because this world is a fallen world. Because humanity, at the very beginning, DIDN’T choose God, but its own way. And God is life and light. So what is left, when we didn’t choose life and light, is death and darkness.

We’re so busy most of the time with our own busyness that we don’t even ask these questions –  why things are good or not good – until we experience the really bad. We make an assumption that the “way things should be” is goodness. But then when all of sudden things aren’t good, and the bottom drops out, we wonder what happened. We question and theorize and search for God. But the assumptions from which we question aren’t even accurate. The default in this world is not goodness, with a little bad thrown in. Goodness is the default where God is. And this world has chosen NOT God. The default in this world, which has chosen itself over God, is badness. It’s not, “Things are good and then suddenly something bad happens – Where is God?”. It’s “Everything is death and darkness and bad except where God works and is – Why did we choose that over God?”.

Even more: “Why do we still choose that, our way, over God’s?”

The good, the graces, the blessings that we experience every day, every moment – those are God working in the world. Without those, without Him, it would ALL be death and darkness. Without the Lord’s constant presence and active involvement in the world, all we would have would be death and destruction and devastation. It’s a true testament to the magnitude of human self-absorption that we expect to have light and life outside of the source of light and life. I mean, Jesus said it: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Isn’t that just what God is trying to show us with Christmas?

God is trying to get us to see that this mess is exactly what He’s been trying to get us out of. He sent His son, into the death and darkness, to BE death and darkness, so that even though we originally chose those over Him, we could have light and life anyway. He wants us to understand that He’s still trying to redeem us from all of this badness, if we’d only choose Him over death and destruction. If we’d only choose life and light. And that, when we do choose Him, even though we still have to live in this fallen world that has elements of death and darkness in it, we can still make it through with joy. We can still walk through this dark world, but not actually walk in darkness. Because He is light, even in the midst of darkness.

Wow.

Christ provides us a way out of this mess. Ultimately a way out when we leave this world and get to experience life forever with Him, but not just that. He also provides a way out, while we’re still here, in the middle of it – by following him. Jesus taught that the default in this world, the default without Him, is badness: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). There will be babies who die, and sickness, and natural disasters, and murders of innocent Kindergarteners. There will be, because that’s what exists in a world that chooses something other than life and light. But that’s not the end of the story. Christmas tells us the second part of Jesus’ words: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He offers us a way out of the badness while we’re still living in the middle of it- by walking in His light of life. By living with him, moment by moment, and finding his presence and grace in each thing we encounter, whether good or bad. By allowing His light to permeate the cloudy fog of badness that enfolds our experience here on earth through choosing His way over our own. By seeing his gifts, his working for good, in the midst of a world gone wrong.

Where is God in Sandy Hook? The same place He was when my baby died. Walking with us, holding us, putting His light around us in the middle of the darkness, a darkness He never wanted – so we can still walk in the light.  Working in us and around us (yes, even in this) to help us experience Him – because there is no life apart from Him. Loving us, shaping us, giving us Himself, true life, until the time that He completes His work to redeem this world and conquers death and darkness for good.

3 Responses to “Where Is God In Sandy Hook?”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thanks, guys. The further away we move as a culture from acknowledging sin, from recognizing objective “right” and “wrong”, the more difficult it will become to explain (and ameliorate) moral decline in our society. It’s also interesting to me that so many who believe in moral relativism (there is no true “right” and “wrong” by some objective standard) are often the first to point fingers to the source of the “badness” in such acts as these. The standard, of course, is Christ. And by that measure, we ALL fall so very short. It’s only ultimately through becoming more like Christ that we can avoid the evil of such tragedies as Sandy Hook.

  2. polly says:

    You hit the nail on the head. I have written but not yet published my own thoughts on this. Gun control….mental health issues…security issues….all symptoms of the real issue of sin. Which no one wants to acknowledge in the secular world. And who was it who said that Satan’s finest accomplishment would be persuading people to believe he doesn’t exist? I cant recall but it is so true. When we forget the fact that humanity sins we forget the fact that we need redemption…..

  3. Megen Miller says:

    I LOVE how you explained that. Really helps. Thanks!

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