I did not have all of the details, but I was stunned, as a teacher, to know that someone walked into a school and gunned down students and faculty. I began to pray. I really did not have many words, other than, “God, please help and comfort the families and friends of the victims.”
We have seen so many acts of violence in our society that one almost becomes numb to it. We are incensed for a time, but then the catastrophe starts to fade in our minds, especially, if it does not directly affect us. I, like many, vowed to pray more for my kids (my students), to love all of the children in my life that much more, and to cherish each day that I am blessed to be with those I love. I think that sometimes I get so caught up in how much time I have left that I don’t think about the fact that I am not promised any amount of time with any of my loved ones here on Earth.
I picked up my niece and she asked if I heard what happened and how something like this could happen. I told her that I had no words to really explain and I admitted to her that in times like these, when acts of senseless violence happen, it makes me say, “How long, Lord?” How long until you come back and rescue us from this evil? Because it’s hard to explain to an unbeliever how a loving God allows bad things to happen, but this is worse than bad; this is unthinkable, unimaginable.
As I was saying this to my niece, I started recalling the devotion I read that morning about Job questioning God. So, then I said, “All we know is that God is a loving God. He loves all of us enough to allow us to have free will. Some of us use our free will to follow God and obey Him. Some of us use our free will to ignore God. It would be so much easier if God would just make us do what He wants us to do, but that wouldn’t be very loving, gracious or merciful, which is all a part of His character.” That God spoke those words in and through me was confirmed during the sermon when my uncle, whom I had not spoken to about the situation, spoke nearly the exact same words.
He added, though, that in times of heartache and heartbreak like this, it can draw us closer to God or push us away and that God loves us enough to allow us to make that choice. I pray that I will draw nearer to Him. I pray that we all will draw nigh; that we will seek the face of the one, true God. For, He is the only one who has any answers and He is the only one that can provide the kind of comfort and peace that is necessary to deal with a calamity of this magnitude. So, I pray and I hope others will pray the words of Kelly Carpenter’s song to God, our Father:
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend
You are my desire
No one else will do
Nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace
Help me find my way
Bring me back to You
You’re all I want
You’re all I ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know You are near…Amen
My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those whose lives were taken, with the community of Newtown, Connecticut, with victims and families of victims of gun violence and other senseless acts of evil. May the peace of God and the God of Peace comfort your souls now and forever. Ms. EV
I wrote a song this past year that helped me work through grief called, He's Still God, I pray that it can bring some comfort to anyone who is hurting right now. Click play below to listen.