What's the Word?
There are no words.
Oh, there are plenty of words in our vocabulary, but a thorough search of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary would fail to provide an adequate word or definition for the events of last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A lone gunman entered the school that day and before he took his own life, he had taken the lives of 28 others, including 20 children, ages six and seven, and his own mother at her home. I do not add this for the benefit of the readers of today. It is noted here for future generations who may search the archives. Let this be a message to them that, although we are far removed from this situation by miles, we are not disconnected from the pain that has been, and will continue to be a part of the lives of the families in that community.
The unexplainable actions of an obviously troubled young man has knocked the props out from under of this nation which values its children. Those actions have started a domino effect of heartache that passes from generation to generation, and has caused some of God’s people to question His whereabouts in all of this.
I have had a lot of tests in my life, and I have not always gotten every question right. But I will share with you my thoughts and my response to questions and comments about whether God is in control, and if society’s moral compass is in a tailspin.
I am neither an investigator nor a psychiatrist, but I am a Christian.
First, I would ask that you consider this scripture:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
I don’t believe the shooter knew God, but I believe God knew him.
He knew Judas, didn’t He?
And as time goes by, and as stories are told, I believe we will hear stories of how God was in the midst of this hell, offering comfort to his children—both the victims of the shooting and the survivors who grieve their loss.
God is a loving God. And God is faithful.
The problem, as I see it, is that we are a broken people.
Maybe people have never handled free will the way God intended.
I don’t watch TV much, but I did catch the news when I had dinner with my mother on Saturday evening.
In that brief glimpse I saw throngs of people in and around a church and that was good.
But for that young man to shoot his mother and those precious children - that’s bad for so many reasons.
Have we, as a society, lost our moral compass?
Damn straight we have.
The pin of that moral compass is in the home and the church.
Was there a compass in place to guide that young man?
I don’t know.
In the midst of the reporting there have been several reference to mental illness, which seems to play a part in too many of these horrendous events.
Mental illness has been with society since the beginning of time - but there are more of us now – so there is more of it, I guess.
What I encourage those who question God’s whereabouts in this is to remember that, indeed, we do have a loving God, and He is Faithful.
We need to keep our sights on that and not be swayed to the left or the right of it.
And we need to pray for the people of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Conn- ecticut. And pray for all of us, that as the scope and scale of these types of crimes escalate that our tolerance of them does not follow suit.
And don’t forget that we are in Advent – a time of waiting.
Perhaps no scripture is more fitting for this time than the words of Psalm 147: 3:
“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”
May it be so.
And may it be soon.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@poca hontastimes.com