I’ve been pondering and reading a whole host of responses to the tragedy that occurred last Friday in Connecticut.
My first thought, obviously, was to my own children who at that time were still sitting in their classrooms in their own elementary school . My second thought was to all the times I had sat in a closet or bathroom with my students for “intruder drills” and I thought about all those teachers who were doing that same thing; only it was real.
I’ve read a host of comments about obviously the question of “why?”. Some people have mentioned that it’s all because pray and God was taken out of schools. And the thing is, God never left public schools. I don’t say this to make any sort of argument for or against any type of schooling decision, but the fact that we even begin to think that we remove God. The idea that we can move God where we want Him to be or not be.
God was present in that school. And so was evil. Just as evil entered into the Garden, sin walked into that school on Friday. A fallen man made a fallen choice and destroyed countless young lives. I see photos and hear names and ages of the children that died and hold my own 6 year old a little closer. And I remember that although evil walked in; it won’t have the final word.
Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the innocent and often times he uses the innocent to do that. For in destroying the innocent, he attempts to destroy us. He makes us question God and God’s intentions. He makes us doubt. And when we doubt; when we say that there is no way God was there in that maddness, we let evil get hold of us. God was there in the Garden. Satan didn’t slink his way in, our God is so much bigger than that. And God was there in that school.
God hears our cries. He hears the cries of everyone who is touched by this tragedy. He even heard the cries of the man who did this. And He has a plan. His plan from the beginning was to rescue us. It is a plan that involves fear and love; death and life. And hope.
3The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
4“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.
5“Again you will plant vineyards
On the hills of Samaria;
The planters will plant
And will enjoy them.
6“For there will be a day when watchmen
On the hills of Ephraim call out,
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the LORD our God.’”
7For thus says the LORD,
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise and say,
‘O LORD, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel.’
8“Behold, I am bringing them from the north country,
And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together;
A great company, they will return here.
9“With weeping they will come,
And by supplication I will lead them;
I will make them walk by streams of waters,
On a straight path in which they will not stumble;
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.”
10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
And declare in the coastlands afar off,
And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him
And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”
11For the LORD has ransomed Jacob
And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.
12“They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD—
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again.
13“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.
14“I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.