Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Sunday, December 16, 2012

No Answers

Tragedy seems to have become all too common in recent U.S. history. The torture and murder of the American Ambassador and his defenders in Libya, on the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, and now, a horrifying and gut-wrenching murder of innocent first grade children in a school in Newtown, CT, are just 2 examples.

Leland and I have been comparing this time we're in, to the events that took place in the 1960's--the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy; the cold war and threats of nuclear devastation--when people in America were terrified and dismayed by what they were witnessing.

I was only one year older than those first graders, who were murdered on Friday by an insane gunman, when President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, TX. I still remember it vividly--the teachers crying, the reporters on TV, watching the caisson rumble down the streets, the horse without a rider and stirrups with backward-turned boots, and JFK's son saluting as his father's casket passed.

No doubt I remember much about November 22nd, 1963, because of the yearly reminders throughout time, that are now American history, but there were no reporters at Tecumseh Elementary School to chronicle what happened there. Those frightening memories were burned into my brain and have stayed there.

I wonder how much the surviving children of Sandy Hook School will remember about that horrible day their school was terrorized. My heart aches for them.

School, theater, and mall shootings. Planes full of innocent people flown into buildings full of innocent people. Murder by plane, car, firearm, knife; even a hammer, I read today. No reverence or respect for human life.

Do you wonder how we got here? Do you wonder why God allows such awful tragedy? Do you blame God for the evil that is part and parcel of life, since the beginning of human existence outside Eden? 

I don't have answers. I have theories--possible explanations based on observation of human behavior, modern American culture, and what I read in Scripture. I won't bother to pontificate because it will not bring back 20 first grade children. It won't relieve the unspeakable grief the parents endure as they prepare to bury their precious ones.

When I allow myself to imagine being in their places and having my children's lives (or my 3-year-old granddaughter's) suddenly and senselessly ended, I am sick to my stomach. And I pray, which is all there is left to do now, for God to pour his love, peace, and presence upon those who remain to live with the aftermath. As they seek him, this is his promise:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

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