2012-12-21 - Big Questions
Author's Note: I had originally planned to do a third "part" in a set of related Christmas pieces but felt led to share this instead. I wish you all a blessed Christmas and I will probably share the other piece as a follow-up to Christmas. I also know that this is longer than normal but it is the length necessary to share the thoughts that are weighing on my heart and mind this hour.
This weekend the tragedy of December 14 really sunk in. My wife and I had the home to ourselves and were putting the gifts for our two boys under the Christmas tree, ages 4 and 12. We were talking about how nice it was to be done and then it occurred to me that there are twenty parents having to pull gifts from under their tree because their children are no longer with them. There are twenty-seven families including the Lanza family that will not have a Merry Christmas. Somehow on Friday in all the busy-ness of my own life the tragedy had seemed unreal and distant but Saturday morning it became very real and close. And then came the questions in my mind that I know have occurred to so many. Two questions in particular keep popping up:
I have heard many other people answer these questions for this tragedy and other tragedies Columbine, 9/11, Katrina, Sandy, and now Sandy Hook. I hope you will bear with me as I share my thoughts on this and it is my prayer that my answers may help some of you who wrestle with these same questions.
First, where was God? I have seen too many people jump on the "we kicked God out of school years ago" bandwagon. I was almost on board but then I remembered one of the amazing things about God. He is omnipresent. God is everywhere all the time. We cannot kick him out of a place. He is everywhere. God is not ours to command and tell where he can and can't be. We may try but it is only because we are fools.
Check out these verses with me.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NASB)
Oh and don't forget that anytime his children cry out for him that he is there speaking with them. I am convinced that there were students and faculty praying as the gunshots fired. Make no mistake about it he was there.
But if he was there then we must deal with the horrible second question. Why did God allow it? Just as he is omnipresent, isn't he also supposed to be omnipotent?
Matthew 19:26 (NASB)
Why would a God that can do anything not stop this? Why does he allow evil things to happen? Why doesn't God bring an end to the injustices of this world? The funny thing is when we ask, "Why does God allow bad things?" we only mean bad things that happen to us or bad things that other people do. In those moments we forget that we do bad things.
To the church at Rome, Paul wrote "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" and "For the wages of sin is death". (Romans 3:23, 6:23 NASB) So if God stops evil and punishes sin in order to be just he must stop it all. Make no mistake about it God is just and he will judge us all but he is also loving. Because he is loving, he delays bringing his justice.
2 Peter 3:7-9 (NASB)
God allows evil to reign for a season so more can step out of it and embrace him. God doesn't want any of us to suffer the punishment that our crime of sin demands. He wants us all to accept the pardon paid for by his Son, Jesus Christ.
The darkness and evil that filled the world on December 14 has only one solution and that is the light that tradition holds arrived two thousand years ago on December 25 the Light of the world. That light was there in the darkness that filled Newtown, Connecticut but he did not stop it because he delays his justice so others may come to him. That darkness only shows the need for the Light of the world all the more and will, I pray, be used somehow to draw more souls to God. I believe there are at least twenty additional souls in heaven and perhaps as many as twenty-eight from that fatal morning. Yes, I said twenty-eight including Adam Lanza in that group. As offensive as that may sound even he may be in heaven today. Jesus' payment for sin doesn't just cover the ones I think aren't that bad; it covers them all for any who trust him. Adam's final actions do not sound like the actions of a follower of Christ but I am not his judge; God is.
I hope this will help you if you have wrestled with these questions during this tragedy or others. God bless.
All scripture references from unless otherwise noted