Everywhere I look people are talking about it, and they should, because it is something we need to talk about. The recent horrific events in Newtown Connecticut last week have impacted us on a profound level.
The reality of the unrestrained carnage inflicted on innocent children breaks me. It has had me bawling, and has caused me to draw my wee ones in close. My heart wails along with the mothers who sent their children to school not knowing that this was their last goodbye. I know that there is no "silver lining" for a mother holding her dead child. It is wrong...plain and simple.
Like a mother hen I draw my little chicks in close and remind them that we serve, and worship, the Living God, the Sovereign One who knows the beginning from the end and who's purposes no madman can thwart. We are safely hidden in Jesus, who has final victory over sin and death...the One who is able redeem, rescue and restore even the most wicked among us. The coming King who will make all wrong things right, and who will dry every tear from the eyes of his children.
While Satan wages his war against the most vulnerable and the weakest among us, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom belongs to them. This massacre has reminded me that, while everyone wants to find a "fix" for the problem, our only safety and security is hidden in Christ. There is nothing we have in Jesus that can be stolen by a raging mad man, or an illness, or an accident, because He is our treasure and that cannot be lost.
That doesn't mean for a second that we don't feel, that we don't look sin squarely in the eyes and call it what it is. We hate it. We should hate it because God hates it. There is no "power of positive thinking" or marshmallow feel good christian sentiment that can mask the reality of our fallen world, and the depravity that exist in the human heart. It is the common grace of God and his staying hand of mercy that restrains us from destroying ourselves completely.
There are so many practical questions that need to be asked, and "answers" that need to be proposed but for the most part, to me, they seem a mile wide and an inch deep.
Only Jesus can dig out the wretched stone-like heart of a man and make it something new. We may not all go on murderous rampages, but within my own heart lies the seeds of hatred, bitterness, envy, and all kinds of malice. I may never have raised a gun to murder another, but I have aimed my weapon with deadly accuracy and fired with my words. I have had my share of victims, and I will wound again...but by God's grace I will be transformed into someone who loves like Him. We are not "mostly good"...we are slaves to our own nature and in desperate need of our Savior...every.day.
I want things like this to cause me to feel deeply, and to change me, but equally so I want them to make me think Biblically, with a depth of theology that reveals God as He is. We must do both, feel deeply and think theologically as believers....because at the end of a days like Friday the weak-kneed response of "just focus about the good things" just isn't enough, it is meaningless. Under sentiment like that a whole lot of evil flourishes undealt with. We MUST look squarely upon the hard things and we must enter into the pain, but we do this not as someone with no hope...we do this with the gospel at the forefront of our minds, and our eyes fixed on Christ.
We embrace the paradox of incredible beauty and abominable suffering that is life, that is this sin soaked world....because there we see Jesus. We understand that Jesus is sufficient enough to be glorified in both.
As I see the pictures of the precious little ones who were slain, my mind also goes to the children who are still living but held in the clutches of Death. The war wages on, and as the blood bought children of God we cannot wall ourselves in, pacifying ourselves with our own prosperity. At the front lines of Satan's raging, is children. It has always been that way, and I suspect it will continue until his dark kingdom in this world ends.
I have to ask myself...how much would we give, how much would we sacrifice, how much money would we raise, how much noise would we make, how would we rally as communities to see even ONE of those little lost children from Newtown, who's faces we are becoming familiar with, saved from that certain death. What would we do to see those children rescued from the clutches of that madman set on their destruction? I know without a doubt, if it were possible to buy back a life, that millions would rise up and pay the ransom.
Are the people of God rising up, like a community on mission, to seek out the lost? Are we running to the front lines of the battle? Are we throwing all that hinders us aside and setting our eyes like flint upon the faces of the dying? Or do we just sing our pretty little Jesus songs, complain that the coffee is cold, and listen to sermons about loving ourselves better?
Is the life of a child who has never been loved, the child who spends hour after hour, year after year soothing herself with a repetitive rocking motion because she has never known a mothers touch, who eventually dies alone from starvation in the next room to fat orphanage workers, any less valuable than the murdered child who is mourned all across the country? Is her callous, horrific and unnecessary death any less tragic? That's where my mind goes. Both deaths are a result of cold hearted evil, both are incomprehensibly tragic. What is a life worth? We honor the courage of those brave teachers who saved the lives of children, at the cost to their own safety, as we should. I know Daddies across the country that wish they could have been there, well armed and prepared to stand between the monster and the vulnerable children of Sandy Hook Elementary. Where are the Daddies willing to risk it all for the children dying alone? The one's whose names the media will never know. Who will stand out between the Dragon and the child and say "NOT this one!"
The orphaned, the abandoned, the weak, the lost, the vulnerable...those are the precious ones that must be plundered from the enemy and brought into Life. The "strong man" has already been bound up, defeated, One who is stronger has already gone before us. We just need courage enough to run in and rob his house. (Mark 3:27)
"The great challenge of adoption and orphan care ministry is to cultivate a death-defying passion for God above all things. A faith that rests in him whether living or dying, whether comfortable or miserable, whether successful in our orphan care or not. Our aim is to cultivate and spread the unshakable confidence that God is better than what life can give us and what death can take from us." - John Piper
"We care for orphans not because we are rescuers. We care for orphans because we are the rescued." -David Platt
"If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full." -John Piper