Father, I’m not even sure what to say. I know you grieve over what happened yesterday – I know that you are a good God and that you took no pleasure in watching this happen. I also know that you are sovereign and you are in control – even though the world seems out of control. I believe you are strong enough to have stopped this from happening, and I don’t know why you didn’t. But I believe you are big enough to handle that question without being offended.
I also know that I’ll probably never get an answer to that question, at least on this side of heaven. And, for some strange reason, I’m okay with that. So I don’t want to talk about the why, I don’t want to try to understand, because, at the end of the day, there are 20 dead kids up there in Connecticut and 6 dead adults just from that school. That’s a lot of families that are hurting right now because their loved ones didn’t come home last night; those parents weren’t able to snuggle with their sons and daughters and tuck them in last night, they didn’t get to see them take a nap in someone’s arms today, nor did those kids wake up to discover “the elves” had returned. And those families are hurting.
They need help, Jesus. They need love, they need peace, they need hope – in short, Lord, they need you. So I’m praying right now that you would supernaturally rain down on them – do something, Lord, to bring peace to chaos, hope to despair, and love to the hurting. Father, move your people who live in Newtown to pour out your love to these hurting people. There are no answers, there are no explanations, there are just hurts – hurts that seem beyond healing. Hurts that never should have been.
I can’t fix this, Jesus – none of us can. We can’t bring these kids back from the dead, we can’t undo the madness of yesterday. In fact, we can’t even do anything to prevent this from happening again. We’ll try – I’ll try – but at the end of the day it seems that if evil wants to rear it’s ugly head then evil will rear it’s ugly head. And that, quite honestly Lord, just down-right sucks. I know in the end you win – I get that; I know and believe with all my heart that one day you will “wipe away every tear” from our eyes, but right now there are hurting people, people who have lots of tears and lots of holes in their hearts, and that promise you gave has yet to be completely fulfilled.
And it’s not just those who lost a loved one, Lord – it’s everyone up there that was affected by this tragedy. There were over 600 kids at that school – SIX HUNDRED KIDS, Lord! That’s 600 kids whose lives will forever be changed, six hundred kids whose innocence has been shattered. Every one of their families will now fear sending their kids to school, wondering, “Will it happen again?” I’ve read the comments on the blogs, on Facebook, and even on the news stations. People are scared.
And you know better than I do that when we get scared we do only a couple of things. One is to react irrationally and do crazy things. Another is run away from you because, well, we’re mad that this happened and questioned how you could allow it. The other is run to you and just collapse in your arms. Father, I pray for each of the families that are affected by this tragedy that they would run to you, Lord. Let them know that you are crying, too – that you hurt because what happened is bad and evil and it was never in your plan. Let them know, Lord, that this is not something you did or wanted to happen, that this is an example of something happening on this fallen world that is outside your will.
And, Father, I also pray (and perhaps I’m praying this even more than anything else), that you’d smack your people upside the head so we don’t say or do anything stupid. I read in horror what people write about you – people who claim to believe, know, and follow you. The things they say about you and this situation break my heart (and I have to believe they break yours). They blame you, they say you caused it. They’re so busy arguing over your involvement (or lack there-of) in this tragedy that they’re forgetting to reach out to those who are hurting. They’re not listening to the broken-hearted, Lord, too many of your people are preaching at them, complaining about things like video-game violence, R-rated movies, ease of obtaining a gun, and the like. It’s not that those things are unimportant, Lord, it’s just that right now is not the time to discuss them. You told us in your word that for everything there is a season, and the season for those conversations will come – but right now, Father, is the time to weep. To weep over the fact that these little kids were murdered in cold blood; to weep over the loss of innocent lives of teachers and administrators at an elementary school. It’s time to weep and mourn, Lord. Use this, somehow, to bring your people back to you. There are people weeping right now and we’re supposed to weep with them, Father, but too many Christians are, well, just worried about other things. Let them weep, Lord. Don’t wipe the tears away just yet because the tears of those who are affected are still there, so ours need to be present too.
And, finally, Father, I pray for those who, tomorrow, will preach your word in churches across this nation. I know that it’s going to come up in sermons; I know people will go to church tomorrow that haven’t ever darkened the door of one before. And they’re going to be looking for answers, answers to questions they’re asking, answers that none of us have. Give those pastors and leaders the courage to say, “I don’t know” when they need to; give them the wisdom to know how to communicate your love and your brokenheartedness to those who hurting. Don’t let them get distracted, Father, by politics or theological arguments. Lord, help them just love people and communicate your love to tomorrow.
Jesus, we need you. We need you because right now we’ve got nothing. We’re sitting down here, two weeks before Christmas (a time that’s supposed to be about peace and joy and happiness), and we’re crying because laying in front of us are the bodies of 20 murdered kids and six murdered adults and there’s nothing we can do to bring them back.
I take that back, Lord, we do have something – we have you; I have you. Give me the courage to share you with a hurting world; give me the courage to talk about you and lift you up, to point to you and acknowledge you. Give me the words to say when I’m asked questions where clearly the only answer is you. Give me the courage to love those around me and share your love with them, to shower people with the good news that even when I’ve got nothing I really have everything. Dear God we need you. My country needs you; all those people up there in Connecticut need you, Lord. Show us how to share you. Soften their hearts – somehow, some way – to be open to receive you and know you and be filled by you, because what they’re looking for they will never find outside of you. Show us, your church, how to share you.