As I looked at my Facebook/Twitter feed on Friday after the shootings, I noticed one word repeated over and over. Why?!? People want to make sense of what happened. Without a worldview informed by faith, it’s impossible to make sense of the shooting. If you don’t believe in God, your only answer to the question ‘why’ is that it was a display of the survival of the fittest. The shooting on Friday was no more significant than any other event of the day. It’s all meaningless. To those of us who know Christ though, the shooting was not insignificant. It’s a reminder of the reality that this world is broken. While we mourn and grieve for those lost, we can also hope in a day when death will be no more and all things will be made new. I hope these articles/blogs help you mourn/grieve/hope appropriately but also serve as great resources as you interact with those in your life who don’t know Christ. [All bolding is mine] John Piper:
Mass murder is why Jesus came into the world the way he did. What kind of Savior do we need when our hearts are shredded by brutal loss?
We need a suffering Savior. We need a Savior who has tasted the cup of horror we are being forced to drink.
And that is how he came. He knew what this world needed. Not a comedian. Not a sports hero. Not a movie star. Not a political genius. Not a doctor. Not even a pastor. The world needed what no mere man could be.
The God who draws near to Newtown is the suffering, sympathetic God-man, Jesus Christ. No one else can feel what he has felt. No one else can love like he can love. No one else can heal like he can heal. No one else can save like he can save.
We often feel sympathy for loss when we hear of it. But yesterday was something greater. For every parent who willingly entrusts his or her child to any type of elementary school setting, it marked a moment of empathy. A picturing of yourself in their shoes: experiencing the thoughts, emotions and reactions that only the parents could feel. Empathy goes far beyond sympathy, where we understand the suffering of others, and hits us at our core where we intrinsically feel the havoc evil brings to our world.
As Christians, here we are in the midst of Advent. December, the month we earnestly reflect on the coming of the Christ child, who became flesh as the Savior of this world. And yet we are still longing, yearning for Christ to put the world to rights—to re-make this place into one where the cold-blooded murder of innocents is no longer a reality, where pain and sickness disappear, where all things are made new. Our hearts cry out in unison, out of loss and longing for this new heaven and earth.
Richard Rohr speaks of this longing in his book, Falling Upward. Of homesickness. That is what this earth is groaning for. We long for a home where wrong is made right. Where sickness takes flight. We long for redemption where death raises to life.
“Wouldn’t it make sense that God would plant in us a desire for what God already wants to give us? I am sure of it.” Rohr writes. “There is an inherent and desirous dissatisfaction that both sends and draws us forward, and it comes from our original and radical union with God. There is a God sized hole in all of us, waiting to be filled.”
Violence against children is also peculiarly satanic because it destroys the very picture of newness of life and dependent trust that characterizes life in the kingdom of God (Matt. 18:4). Children are a blessing, and that enrages the horrifying nature of those who seek only to kill and to destroy (Jn. 10:10).
The satanic powers want the kingdoms of the universe, and a child uproots their reign.
Let’s not offer pat, easy answers to the grieving parents and communities in Connecticut. We don’t fully understand the mystery of iniquity. We don’t know why God didn’t stop this from happening. But we do know what this act is: it’s satanic, and we should say so.
Let’s grieve for the innocent. Let’s demand justice for the guilty. And let’s rage against the Reptile behind it all.
Christians know that this is the result of sin and the horrifying effects of The Fall. We have no answer for this evil that does not affirm the reality and power of sin. The sinfulness of sin is never more clearly revealed than when we look into the heart of a crime like this and see the hatred toward God that precedes the murderous hatred he poured out on his little victims.
A tragedy like this cannot be answered with superficial and sentimental Christian emotivism, nor with glib dismissals of the enormity and transience of this crime. Such a tragedy calls for the most Gospel-centered Christian thinking, for the substance of biblical theology, and the solace only the full wealth of Christian conviction can provide.
In the face of such horror, we are driven again and again to the cross and resurrection of Christ, knowing that the reconciling power of God in Christ is the only adequate answer to such a depraved and diabolical power.
Days like today give us no choice but to hate. They leave us only with a choice of where that hatred will land: Will we hate God, or will we hate sin?
I choose to hate sin. On days like today I will reflect again on the ravaging effects of rebellion against God, multiplied across millennia, manifested in a freshly printed headline. The more shocking the headline, the more I must come to grips with my minimized reckoning of the severity of sin. With Nehemiah I will cry out, “I and my fathers have sinned,” freshly grieved over the sins of others—yes—but freshly grieved over my own sin as well. I have not pulled a trigger, but I have harmed my share of victims. The killer lies dead, but I live on to harm again. On days like today I will renew my resolve not to participate in tearing down what God pronounced good at the dawn of human existence. I cannot stop a murderer, but by the grace of God I can stop sinning against those he has given into my care.
Tim Keller (writing about 9/11 but all of this is relevant):
In the year after 9-11 I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was treated successfully. But during that whole time I read about the future resurrection and that was my real medicine. In the last book of The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee wakes up, thinking everything is lost and discovering instead that all his friends were around him, he cries out: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”
The answer is YES. And the answer of the Bible is YES. If the resurrection is true, then the answer is yes. Everything sad is going TO COME UNTRUE.