What to say? Words whirling around, no where to land. Emotions swirling, not one sticking for very long. Crying one minute, laughing the next.
What do we do with grief so great? When it is not even grief of our own, but of a place we’ve never even been? Only it feels like we have been there. Every teacher I know feels they know that place and wondered “what if” on Friday, as they hugged each student good-bye. Every Mama and Daddy, we hurt so deeply, eyes filling each time we glance at the little hands we still get to hold. Grandmas and grandpas, relatives of all sort. It feels like it’s not far from home, doesn’t it?
Some try to argue it out. Blame someone. Our laws, politicians. It’s their fault, right? Or God. He could have stopped this.
It’s what we do. We try to figure out what went wrong, try to make sense of it all. The truth is, we just can’t. Not like that. Blaming politicians or gun laws isn’t going to get us anywhere. Blaming God sometimes feels productive, like you have finally found the source of the problem, at least that’s what it was like for me. I spent plenty of
days months and even years blaming God for a tragedy I’ve experienced. While the anger felt correctly placed at the time, it only served to stir up more anger, more frustration, more hate. I’ve learned from my own tragedy – while very different and of a much smaller scale than what we all heard of on Friday – that blaming God gets you nowhere, because it is anger placed in the exact wrong spot. Hate directed at a source that only gives Love. I’ve learned that no matter how much hate is poured out, His Love pours out infinitely more.
Here is what else I’ve learned…
I’ve learned that tragedy, tremendous tragedy and evil exist. But so does God. And He is Love. He will never abandon nor forsake us. He loves deeply. He knows our hurt, and He weeps with us.
I’ve learned that on a day like today, when the grief bubbles over and runs down your face at a moment’s notice, there isn’t much to do except pray. And that is no small thing.
I’ve learned that on any day, on every day, we need to soak up the moments. Not let them slip past. Not take them for granted.
I’ve also learned that on any day, when the frustrations of being a Mama are great and the bedtimes are later than they should be and the kids say words they shouldn’t in tones they shouldn’t and I do the same, that it is ok. That I don’t need to feel guilty for letting a moment slip by and not loving every second, because day-to-day life is just hard sometimes. And frustration from the day and longing for the kids to be asleep doesn’t mean I love them less or that I don’t know how incredibly blessed I am. When I wish for no more diapers or for a moment alone, it does not mean I’m taking my moments for granted.
I’ve learned that in our hardest moments, when we have no words to say, when hurt runs so deep that it grips the heart and soul and stills the tongue, that Jesus, the son of God, prays for us. Jesus, the Son of God intercedes on our behalf. On behalf of those mommies, daddies, and all that are hurting. When our words run out or won’t come, or when they whirl around with no place to land, the King of Kings, sitting at the right hand of the Father, prays for us. And when Jesus, God the son, prays to God the Father, he can only pray the perfect prayer, exactly what needs to be said and exactly what needs to be done.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that Jesus is our only hope. He is the joy of more than just this Christmas season. He is the Hope of my heart. The hope of Oregon. The hope of Newtown, CT. The Hope of the nations, and of this world. He is the only hope. When the pain of life seems greater than we can bear, Jesus comforts. Jesus heals. When we think we can not go on, He sustains. When all around seems to crumble, He is steadfast, a solid rock.
Some blame Him for the heinous acts that have occurred in our country, yet His Love is limitless for even them. I wonder, do we also praise Him when we see blessings poured out? Or does He get ignored until the next tragedy, where we can dump further blame on Him?
Do you know this Hope? This Hope that is Limitless Love? This Joy, that is found not in the packages under a tree, but that was nailed to a tree? This Joy to the world, that He has come to bring a Hope of life eternal?
Do you still wonder, why didn’t God stop it? Why didn’t He stop the evil that is beyond our comprehension? And while we’re on the subject, why didn’t He prevent every other pain in this world – big and small – if He really truly loves so much? That’s okay to wonder. He understands that, too. It doesn’t all make sense to us, but we must know the whole story.
I can not summarize it better than a friend did already, so I will post her answer. It may not satisfy the answer to the question, why did this happen? Because really, there may not be a satisfying answer for us. There is no answer on this earth that is great enough to make any of it feel ok. I know this, because even in my smaller-scale tragedy, nothing that would come out of it, nothing I could ever imagine, would be wonderful enough to make the pain in my Mama’s heart seem worthwhile. So while our “Why, God?” may not magically disappear, this story answers some very important questions. Of why life can hurt so much when God loves so much, why evil and pain exist, and why Jesus is our only Hope. I encourage you to read it all. We need to know the whole story…
From Carissa Krause, in response to a Facebook question about God’s plan:
With the very words that He spoke, God created everything. By His very breath, Adam’s heart not only began to beat, but his mind began to think and his soul was connected to God. “And God saw everything that He had made and it was very good.” Adam and Eve enjoyed an astounding relationship with God. Fully secure. Fully accepted. Fully significant. Wow. To sit down and try to wrap our heads around this is mind blowing.
While I won’t get into the specifics of what we Christians call “The Fall”, I’ll just plainly state that Adam and Eve sinned. They did what God told them not to do and when they did that, the connection that they had with God was broken. They died. Not physically…yet. But they were spiritually dead. Any every person born from them and after them would be spiritually dead too.
Now, let’s just be real for a minute. If it wasn’t Adam and Eve, it would have been you and me. Let’s not forget that their sin did not catch God off guard. It’s not like He had to come up with His plan in the middle of the night while Adam and Eve were huddled behind a palm tree sewing their fig leaves together because they were ashamed in their nakedness. God is omniscient. He knows everything. If He knew “before the foundations of the earth” that I would be His little girl, then He knew before He ever began to stir up the dust to make Adam that I would need to be redeemed. Therefore, God had His plan set from the beginning. Because He loves me. Because He loves you. Because He is Love.
His plan unfolds in every page of Scripture and is so clearly stated in Genesis 3. We had a problem. God loves us. God wants us. God is Holy, He is not stained by sin nor will He accept any stain into His Kingdom. We were all born stained. We are all born spiritually disconnected. We cannot do anything about it. We have a problem.
God has a plan.
The Good News or “Gospel” as we call it, was first proclaimed by God Himself in Genesis 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” God said that One would come who would deal a crushing, disarming and deadly blow to satan.
Jesus is the plan.
All of the Old Testament points to the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The plan is to give us back what we lost. To give us back our LIFE. Not physical life, spiritual life. The plan is to reconnect us to God. In order to do that, God had to remove our stains, our sin had to be paid for. So He took His Son Jesus, wrapped Him up in human flesh and sent Him to earth…because He loved the world.
And Jesus was born.
And Jesus loved.
And Jesus was perfect.
And Jesus died.
And God brought Jesus back to life.
And Jesus pointed everyone to God…
Because Jesus is God.
And whoever receives Jesus…
…is clean and connected to God.
This is the plan.
There is not another one.
This is Christmas.
This is Easter.
This is the Beginning and the End of the World.
Now, in light of yesterday’s tragedy, people ask where God was…or maybe the question is better put, “what is God’s plan in that?” We are upset because God, who could have stopped this…didn’t.
Perhaps we are not all that different then, from those awaiting a Savior in the New Testament times. He was rejected by some perhaps because He did not come the way they thought He should. Perhaps they thought the Savior would come and disarm the Roman rule and set Israel free from its oppressors. Wouldn’t a Savior stop the shooter?
Friends, He did.
We get so caught up in what we can see with our eyes, what we feel with our emotions, but God told us that it is by grace through faith that we are made alive. Our oppressors include the world, our own human nature and the devil…and on the cross, Jesus disarmed them all.
The plan WAS fulfilled, IS BEING fulfilled and WILL BE fulfilled.
My heart aches at the thought that these mothers will not hold their babies again. I am angered at the fact that the lives of these people were stolen from the ones who love them. While I hurt with those who hurt…I have not forgotten the plan. I have not forgotten that Jesus did not set Israel free from Roman rule, nor did He stop the Holocaust, or the stock market from crashing, or my father-in-law from dying, or bring my brother’s baby or my cousin’s baby healthy and into the world…
He paid for my sin and set me free.
This life I live, I live by faith in Jesus Christ.
He is the plan.