In light of the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn, I write simply to address myself and to bring peace to my own heart. My deep broken prayers go out to the parents of all those innocent victims who will face this Christmas with many unanswered questions and unopened gifts that will sit underneath a tree that has lost its meaning. I read a passage of scripture last night that described my rage inside.
45 You took the best years of his life
and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
46 How long do we put up with this, GOD?
Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
47 Remember my sorrow and how short life is.
Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
48 We’ll see death soon enough. Everyone does.
And there’s no back door out of hell.
49 So where is the love you’re so famous for, Lord?
What happened to your promise to David?
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not hopeless, nor am I confused about the evil of this day. Certainly, there are many who are wondering why God would allow such a horrific tragedy. Where was He? Why did He allow this? Why didn’t He stop this young man from perpetrating this terrible crime? I am not sure to many of these questions but I have this saying that I always run to: “When I don’t understand, I trust”.
This may be too simplistic of an approach to life and the evil in it but it brings peace to my heart. It always has and probably always will. As I reflect on scripture, I am reminded that evil has always existed ever since the beginning in the first family of Creation. One brother murders the other in innocent blood. You move ahead a few chapters in scripture and you see the evil in Pharaoh giving a mandate to destroy and kill all newborn innocent males. We see this evil raise it’s head again during the season of Christmas and again you read where innocent children were being murdered under the order of Herod the King.
Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under…”
Evil has been there all along. Sin & rebellion has been there all along. The killing of innocent blood has been there all along. Its moments like this that these foolish and selfish acts are highlighted and brought to the surface of our own soul.
WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THIS TRAGEDY? HOW DOES A NATION, A COMMUNITY, A FAMILY move forward from this?
In scripture, Adam and Eve eventually found strength to continue and have other children. In the days of Pharoah, Jochebed refused to abort her child and protect him to become the next leader in Israel. And when you read the Christmas Story in the gospels, you see Joseph and Mary protecting their child in the midst a horrific slaying of innocent children. I can’t imagine the turmoil they may have felt knowing that MANY innocent children were being slain because evil was looking for their child.
I am not sure how we do it as a nation but history shows that these things will only make us stronger. That every family will rise above their hurt and pain and keep moving forward. I am sure yesterday will forever be etched in their heart. They will walk with a limp, but they will walk. They will breakdown and weep, but they will rise back up. Their faith will be shattered and paralyzed for a moment, but they will find the courage to strengthen others and trust God once again.
Evil, you can continue to try and destroy the fabric of our faith in God. You have done this from the beginning. But must I remind you of what happens when people put their trust in God inspite of the evil of the day….It is written…
Ex 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.
peace to my family in Newton, Connecticut,
Pastor Marcus Avalos