Connecticut Shooting & How God Identifies with Suffering
My heart is broken for the kids and adults who were killed this morning in the Conneticut shooting. My heart aches for those parents, teachers, children and families. They said on the news that this is the worst school shooting in American history.
As I watched the news this morning, my heart cried out to the Lord– praying for those involved, and also wondering why God allowed this to happen. How could this happen?
Then I recalled who the LORD is. He did not turn His back when the shooter went in this morning. He did not forget about His children. He did not forsake them.
But then, why does God allow suffering in this world? I may never fully understand the why. But I know that it’s not because God doesn’t care. Timothy Keller, a pastor in New York, explained it beautifully in a message he gave after 9-11.
“One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in – suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.
But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.
And this is key:
It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.
And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection. In Daniel 12:2-3 we read: Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake….[They]… will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and…like the stars for ever and ever. And in John 11 we hear Jesus say: I am the resurrection and the life! Now this is what the claim is: That God is not preparing for us merely some ethereal, abstract spiritual existence that is just a kind of compensation for the life we lost. Resurrection means the restoration to us of the life we lost. New heavens and new earth means this body, this world! Our bodies, our homes, our loved ones—restored, returned, perfected and beautified! Given back to us!”
We uplift everyone involved with the Connecticut shooting today to You. We don’t understand why it happened Lord, but we know that You are involved. You are there. You are in the midst and You understand. Thank you that You are not a God who is high on His throne and looks away when evil happens, but rather You are a God who is high on His throne and who came down to earth to suffer and die for us- for sin- for our sin- and who rose again. You are a God who intimately knows our suffering, who suffered more than we will ever know. And rose again, offering HOPE and life for us.
Lord we pray for the kids who were there today- who saw the shooting, had friends killed, heard the gun shots. God please hold their hearts. Please comfort them. Lord, I pray for the teachers and adults- please show them Yourself. Show them that you love them, You’re in their midst, You are a Refuge and in Your presence there is no fear. Lord please give the police wisdom of how to handle the case– to bring justice, to do what’s right. Lord may You be glorified in this situation. Please bring people to You–restore, comfort, save, hold, uplift, and be ever present now.
And Lord, we look forward to the day when You’ll return– when we’ll be with You forever, and there will be no more tears or suffering. But in the meantime, thank you that You are a God who is here, who understands, who enters into the mess. We love you Lord. Amen.
UPDATE: My husband, Jeff, created a candle company that supports various non-profits & causes. He felt burdened for those in CT and so they put together a special “Pray for CT” candle (the image below is the graphic on the candles) where they will give 100% of all profits to help the victims & families. Please take a look, support, and most of all PRAY. Click here to view their website.
(excerpt taken from: Timothy Keller – 9/11 Remembrance Message)