In the sleepy little town of Newtown, Connecticut, this place has achieved what few have been able to accomplish; combine the rural charm of a small New England town with the sophistication of a metropolitan suburb. Townspeople love calling this place home. It has a Frank Capra like feel from the movie, “It’s a wonderful life.”
The day seemed like any other day; a tad bit hectic before the Christmas holiday. I imagine a small child, with blond hair like an angel, no doubt anxious to get to school. A little boy she fancied had promised to give her a gift today. It was Christmas after all and when you like someone, you can’t help but show it with a little present. Every home with school aged children, hustled and bustled in the predawn hours to hurriedly eat breakfast and meet the bus to school.
I envision Mom’s and Dad’s so busy to prepare for their own day of deadlines and responsibilities that some may have even missed the usual kiss as each child shuffled out the door in their hats and gloves. It’s one of the regrets we have in life that we don’t slow down enough to do the most important things.
I imagine as the children raced into the classrooms and began to chatter about the day, teachers busied themselves in keeping their little “cherubs” focused. “One more day closer to the Christmas break” the teachers thought. But today would be different. This idyllic town would not know that within the hour, it would see the face of evil.
Today as I reflect on the tragedy of that fateful Friday and the aftermath of the greatest school shooting in our nation’s history, I can barely hold back my emotions. As one newscast blurred into the next, my heart felt as if it would burst. As pictures of the smiling little children whose lives were snuffed out were shown on the news, I ached like I had lost one of my very own children.
The collective conscious of our nation now asks the burning question, “How could someone do such an unspeakable act? How could one inflict so great a senseless crime on those so innocent? In conversations and social media pages everywhere, the question asked most frequently is, “Where was God?”
Scripture tells us that He allows the nourishing rain to fall on the just and the unjust. If He allows good to fall on both, would it be incorrect to assume that because of free choice He also allows the bad to fall on both as well?
As His ambassador, I can’t answer in His words, but I can defend Him. God is complex. How can the same God allow tragedy on one side of the earth yet provide a miracle for someone else thousands of miles away? How does the same God who receives requests from broken hearted families that the shooter rot in hell, take the request of the same perpetrator’s family that begs for His mercy because the shooter was such a sick man?
In John 16:33, Jesus boldly warned and promised “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” Lamentations 3:33 says, “For He (God) does not willingly from His heart afflict or grieve the children of men.”
No words can make sense of the Newtown tragedy. The only thing that offers me comfort is found in Revelation 22:20 where Jesus says, “Surely I come quickly”.
As I view the faces of the townspeople and families of Newtown, and share in their indescribable loss, it solidifies my belief in God’s humanity that He still cries. I know He must, because I was made in His image, and I cried today.