12.16.2012

A Heavy Heart


I've just spent two hours reading blogs and commentary about the Newtown, CT killings.  Like everyone, my heart aches for that once peaceful town.  I cannot imagine having a child murdered.

I saw on the news this morning that since 1999, there have been seven mass killings at schools.  SEVEN incidents.  In this year alone, there have been five non-school mass shootings.  It's almost become common place, so much so that I only remembered two (Columbine and VT) of the seven, and one (Gabby Giffords) of the five.  The mind can only take in so much horror.

Already the debates have started about how to fix the problem.  Stricter gun laws, less violent video games/movies, better screening/help for the mentally ill, armed police officers in the schools, metal detectors at the schools, etc.   All of these seem like good ideas.  Why weren't some changes implemented after mass killing #1?   Maybe because we didn't think it could happen again.   We couldn't imagine it would happen again. 

And here we are, a dozen episodes later, grieving the loss of innocent children.  Little kids who were just learning to read and tie their shoes and ride a bike.  We will never be able to eliminate all school violence in America, but we ought to be able to do better than we're doing. 

The question that always comes up after such tragedies is How could God allow this to happen?  Although I understand the anguish behind the cry, it's further saddening to hear this because the question implies a misunderstanding of God's character.  God hates suffering and death more than we do.  He grieves as we do over the loss of life.  It is never His will that people are harmed.

The problem is that His will is often overruled by human will.  That's the power God gave mankind: the freedom to dismiss Him, to distrust Him, to ignore Him, to mock Him, to disbelieve Him.  It's completely our choice.  Total freedom.  That's what true love looks like.

So, we can be mad at God for giving us free will, if we want to.  On occasion, I have wondered what He was thinking.  We're too selfish and stupid to be trusted with such a gift; we make poor decisions all the time.  But, the other option is that we are puppets, with no mind of our own.  God loves us enough to give us the freedom to chose Him - or not.   Freedom is what God allows.

It's not His fault we mess it up.  He's always there to guide and and encourage and support - we can take it, or leave it.   When we choose to dismiss God's will for our lives, we suffer, because the human heart is imperfect and fearful.  Judgement is poor, and perspective is skewed.  That's the human condition.  Without God's influence, we're just floundering souls trying to figure it out on our own. 

So, we self-medicate with self-destructive vices and idolize useless things and hide and exaggerate and manipulate and blame each other and defy authority and sometimes pick up guns and shoot.   And God weeps.

But, He doesn't change the rules.  We're still free to turn to Him, or stay our destructive course.  Every day, we are free to choose. 

We don't yet know the full story of Adam Lanza.  We know he made a choice for evil, and innocents lost their lives.  From Cain and Able to slavery, the Holocaust to 9-11, and all the shootings since, evil choices were made.  God has watched His children destroy each other since the beginning of time. 

And He waits with open arms for all the grieving to turn to Him for comfort and peace and justice.  He is especially close to the bleeding, the dying, and the brokenhearted.  He embraces every deceased victim with perfect, unbridled love.  He is the only one who can heal the human soul and set things right.  

I pray, as a country, we will implement changes that will help prevent further shootings.  Legally, there is more we can do.  The more permanent solution, however, is a matter of the heart.   What choices are we making, every day, as teenagers, parents, neighbors, employees, managers, community leaders that are hurting others, marginalizing them?   Killers do not grow up in a vacuum.

In our troubled society, we need God's guidance more than ever.  I pray we can humble ourselves and seek it.

As Amy Grant sings, "no more lives torn apart...that time will heal all hearts...this is my grown-up Christmas list."   


27 comments:

Juli said...

Amen.

Karen Lange said...

Yes, we do need His guidance more than ever. It is certainly a time to seek Him fervently. Praying for those grieving through this. Praying for us all...

Jen Forbes said...

Wonderful post Mare. HE surely is the only one who can heal the human soul. I am living proof of His healing love.

ROBIN said...

Amen, exactly!

Dana said...

I couldn't agree more.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Well said.

Marianne said...

Thank you for this post, Mare. Without faith, I do not know how anyone could get through such a loss. My heart continues to bleed for those poor parents. It's unfathomable.

Frances Stiles said...

It's all so very sad, Mare. All we can do is stick together and love each other.

Kenya G. Johnson said...

I've just learned more, and turned off the Today Show. Like you I'd was surprised by the number of mass shootings - only remembering Columbine, Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood. I can't imagine a day that I would forget this one. My pastor said yesterday that God's promise was to provide. He never promised to prevent. Like you I hope we will as a country do something to prevent this from ever happening again.

Annmarie Pipa said...

prayers and more prayers...
so unbelievably tragic.

renae said...

Mare! oh!

my comp died on friday and this time my sil can't revive it. motherboard went. dang.

loved your comments to me. i will write on my dumb/smartphone to answer you more. currently at pub library comp. oh well.

happy holidays if i can't reach you later and closer to Christmas!!! k?

love, renae

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

When things like this happen it does test our faith and we wonder why.....
but it in times like this that our faith needs to be strongest

Michael Ann said...

This was so well-stated, Mare. You truly have a gift.

Tamera Brose said...

Well said.

kim said...

well said! my non Christian friends always reel against God when tragedy happens and I never know quite what to say. It's hard to explain free will sometimes, but you did it beautifully.

ejwforeman said...

Your words are beautiful and speak an incredible amount of truth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

Robyn Welling said...

Lovely - people do make poor choices (to say the least) all the time. I hope as a global community we can somehow find a way to be better. We don't need to be perfect, but we need to make a lot of changes.

Bernadette Veenstra said...

Mare,
This is a fantastic post. It was realistic without being harsh or blaming anyone. I like the free will thing. Very well said. Sometimes our will overrules God's. Hmmm...
Thanks for sharing the link. I am glad I looked it up.=)

Brenda said...

Mare, this is so well written and so simple an explanation...I would like to share this on my blog.

Susan said...

Came over to read from Brenda's blog. Thoughtful words.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Those words say it all...no more lives torn apart...that time will heal all hearts...this is my grown-up Christmas list, Good choice !

Jeanette Levellie said...

This was so well-said, I'm sharing it on my FB page, Mare. Thank you! Many people believe that if something happens, God willed it, but I agree with you that He gave us free will, and we mess up.

That's why we need Jesus.

quietspirit said...

I come here from Jeanette's FB page. I agree with you. It is a shame that our nation had to wait until 20 children, 6 teachers, and 2 adults had to die before we realize the need for finding a different way to monitor certain aspects of our social mores.

The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary said...

Found you via upward not inward, I have not really anything to say about the post, just God be with us all. I just wanted to say hello. Tara.

That corgi :) said...

you said it really well Mare. People don't understand this about free will and how it relates to God. They kind of want to define God to who they want him to be, not realizing he is his own entity with "checks and balances" so to speak which included free will.

betty

Tami said...

I have no words to express my feeling of sadness for the children, the families and the teachers. You wrote what I was thinking and could not put into words. Well said!

Darlene said...

Amen. Well said. It's so much easier to blame God, then to blame our own sinful selves.