Who hasn't been riveted to CNN or FOX or MSNBC today, Friday, 14 December? Even if you've been trying to be "hard at work"? Another day. Another school. Another shooter. Another 2 dozen plus dead, this time at least 20 little kids, just a smidge older than my twin granddaughters, who were sitting in my lap as we heard the news for the first time of events up in Connecticut.
My family knows no one in that community, but tears flowed. It was not hard to imagine us frantically seeking to take hold of our kids or those twins and scurry them to safety. Not difficult to imagine how life as we knew it would stop if we knew our little ones had been mercilessly murdered. Not hard to want to offer anything to ease the pain of moms and dads and brothers and sisters and. . . well, the ripples will go out to multitudes and reverberate for generations. It's overwhelming.
And this, on the heels of the lock down earlier this week at Jeb Stuart when someone brought in a gun. No one was injured there. The gun appears to have been a BB or pellet gun. But it brings home just close how the unthinkable is to our doorstep.
Listen, it's too early for us to know everything yet. The investigation in Connecticut is still ongoing. We're hearing now that the shooter's parents are dead, as well. Still some reports of children unaccounted for. My own experience with terrorist attacks are that the early numbers are virtually always wrong. That was the case for 9/11, and the numbers of actual casualties went lower when all the facts came in. We can pray this is the case here.
But, speaking of prayer, thoughts at some point after such horrific instances inevitably will swing to questions about God. Things like, if He exists at all, how could he stand idly by and let this atrocity unfold and do nothing. This is not the time for deep thoughts about doctrinal issues. Maybe next week or next month, but not today.
Today, we need this. We need to know God is there, that he sees, that he feels, that he cares, that he loves, and that he, too, weeps for the conditions that unfold on what we all know is a flawed planet occupied by flawed people. Those flaws include me, I fear. I was off on a noble task earlier today, picking up a Christmas train set donated by a friend that will go to a family that is escaping from homelessness through the good work of FamilyPASS. Even with such a good spirit about it all, here's the truth. I couldn't do even that without violating the speed limit. I didn't slaughter anyone, but i did break the law--even though I know a terrible accident that is my fault is possible every time I sit behind the wheel. I don't like it, but I've got some responsibility for the conditions of this place we call home. But that's for another time.
Today, we just need to keep it simple, and we need to hear this: that Jesus wept uncontrollably when his very good friend, Lazarus, took ill and died before he got there--and this was a friend that he knew he was going to raise from the dead in short order. Why the tears then? I think it was because Jesus knows the pain that emanates from death. Death wasn't in the original creation, and there's a time coming when it won't exist anymore. But today, we live in Middle Earth, in the inbetween time. So, Jesus looked over a city of people who were suffering in misery and wept for them. He knows what this place can be like for us. He lived here, too.
I think if I was in Connecticut tonight, there'd be nothing I could do to ease the pain for these families. My role would no doubt be just to be with them, hold them, and sob together. Because I know Jesus is very much alive right now, everything we've seen from him when he walked this earth tells me this is what he's doing. He's with them, he's got his arms around them, and he's weeping again tonight.
Lead Pastor for The Surge
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.