I know that past experience would lead one to think otherwise but, really, I had no intention of the blog going dark for a couple of weeks such as it has. I had a couple of posts rattling around in my mind as well as the usual end-of-the-year retrospectives (favorite books read, favorite posts written, you get the idea).
And then the events of Connecticut. Like you I found myself speechless with grief. Who can write of such trivia in the wake of unimaginable tragedy? Any observation or wisdom I could hope to offer here on the blog seemed empty and trite and, frankly, beyond my capacity to articulate.
I had quit watching the news after the Presidential election. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part; in fact it was several days, a week maybe, after the election that I realized that, after several months of nearly constant news consumption, I had quit. Cold turkey. The next time I turned on the TV to deliberately watch the news was last Friday, December 14. My youngest son’s birthday.
My oldest son came in from work and asked if I had heard what had happened at a school in Connecticut. I had some rather vague knowledge of a shooting. Despite my teetotaler stance in regard to intentional news consumption I wasn’t totally ignorant of all that was happening in the world. There is, after all, Twitter.
I could only watch for twenty minutes. My heart was broken. I didn’t want any more details; what I knew was enough.
We celebrated my son’s birthday. We went to a Christmas party. We watched a basketball game. We discussed the tragedy, some, and I said that death was too good for that shooter. I didn’t mean it, not really, because I believe the Bible and I believe in the judgment of the Lord. All that we do will be weighed before the holy God of the universe and upon his death the perpetuator of this horrible, horrible crime was ushered into eternity where he met his reward. Justice is served and it is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
We don’t speak much, in church or outside, of judgment and wrath and justice. It affronts our cherished notion of a God of love. What kind of love is it, though, that punishes no wrong? The good news is that because of His great love, God Himself satisfies His anger. He Himself bears the wrath of His justice for those who belong to Him as His children. It is a fearsome thing, yes, to consider the just consequence to sin and yet Jesus suffered in our place. The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all!
Like you, my grief over the events in Connecticut wells up in prayer. I find myself begging over and over, “Lord, have mercy, please, oh Lord, have mercy.” This sort of tragedy reminds us in stark, dreadful clarity that our world is broken and we are a broken people. We need saving. We need a Savior. The gospel proclaims that God Himself sent forth a rescue mission by sending His Son to save us from our sins.
Justice will be served. The price will be paid. We can find comfort–strange as it may seem to us–in the justice of a holy God who will not tolerate evil. He will not. He cannot. There are two options before every one of us: Repent of your sin and believe that the Lord will save you because Jesus bore the consequence of your sin as He died on the cross. Or, if you will not, know that a fearsome and horrible destiny awaits: an eternity in hell, a place of anguish and unimaginable torment.
May the Lord grant mercy and sustaining strength to those suffering loss and pain and an unbearable weight of grief, to the family members and the teachers and the school administrators, to the law enforcement officials and the first responders. May His grace abound to all.
Please, Lord, have mercy. We need You so.