The tragedy in Newton CT has profoundly impacted the hearts of Americans everywhere. There are questions without answers. Tears without ceasing. Anger and rage. During the holidays we long for joy and innocent childlike spirits, and instead our hearts are filled with grief and shock at the evil that ripped through our schools last week.
Understandably, many struggle with God’s sovereignty when unthinkable things like this occur. The echoes of angry parents, sisters, brothers, and friends ring through the air, “God, WHERE were you?!” It’s difficult to understand how God could be in control and yet things like this continue to happen. We want to reason and explain such tragedies. We want to understand that which we cannot.
Some offer that God knows all that will happen but is not strong enough to stop it. Others reason that tragedies such as this surprise God, that somehow His divine plan overlooked the horror of Friday. Neither are true. God is completely in control, and completely aware of every millisecond before it occurs. Never surprised and never incapable. Please friends, though our hearts are broken, and our minds can’t comprehend such evil; don’t dumb down the maker of the Universe into a God that fits into a human mold to make faith more palatable.
Even Christians want to see the divine map, where it goes, how it ends. Just a glimpse. Please, we cry out to heaven, please, unveil our eyes and heal our hearts.
This Christmas, in light of the tragic events of this past week, I believe we need to be reminded of one very important thing. God gave us more then a glimpse. He gave us His presence on earth. Emmanuel. God with us. God, here on earth. In our midst. In human form, walking, talking, and inhabiting the earth we live on.
You see, though God could have remained in the heavens, separated from the callous and evil hearts of man, He chose not to. He chose to send His son to live among us, and ultimately die for us. You and I are never the victim of ‘mother nature’, the recipient of ‘bad luck’ or a product of fate. God is with us, ever-present, and reigning with calm authority even when the world around us appears to be recklessly spinning out of control.
His presence did not leave after His death and resurrection. He doesn’t watch our lives on earth as merely a bystander unable to help those who cry out to Him. Incredibly, God choose not just to live among us, but to live in us via the Holy Spirit. Never alone. Never forsaken. Never abandoned. In a world where unimaginable evil, hatred, and tragedy increasingly abound, we must not lose sight of this vital truth.
As I reflect on what I cannot understand, I am reminded that faith doesn’t require understanding tragedies, faith requires simply understanding WHO God is in light of tragedy. As I have seen in my own life, no struggle or heartbreak has touched my life that is apart from His sovereign purpose, divine presence and ultimately permission. This Christmas, take heart and celebrate the miracle of “God with Us.” For, He is.
Gen 50:20: “God turned into good what you meant for evil…”