Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Painful World

An empty swing.
An empty bed.
An empty house.
An empty heart.

I can only barely begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a child to such violence as happened yesterday. Or to illness, as two of my dear friends have done recently. Or to an accident. Or anything.

How could you possibly celebrate Christmas? How could you possibly rejoice in this season? This day?

If our kindergartner hadn't come home yesterday, how could I believe in the goodness of God?

Or... how can I respond to someone who has lost such a treasure without sounding trite or judgmental?

I think back to when I found out that I would never have biological children. Infertility is an enormous grief, as anyone who has experienced knows. One well-meaning person actually told me that God must not have wanted me to have children. Seriously?!!?  How could someone say something so cruel? I do not believe that God wanted those children to be slaughtered any more than God wanted me to be barren.

God created a perfect world and perfect people to live in it eternally. Sin intervened. Sin brought illness and death and violence and hatred and every other evil thing that we experience.

So, then, do we judge another way? Do we say something like, "Those parents must've done something awful to deserve this!" Absolutely NOT.  The blame is not on one person or a group of people; it is on all people. I am a sinner. I am selfish and irritable, greedy and self-serving. No, I didn't point a gun at children and pull the trigger. I didn't abuse my child. I didn't commit such violence, but I am far from the perfection God created.

So what can we do? How can we empathize, support, and carry those who are grieving such a loss? First, I can continue to beg God to work in me to make me more and more like the perfect person He created me to be. Second, I can look to the Bible and find that we are to A)Love one another (John 15:12); B) Serve as Jesus served (Mark 10:45); C)Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17); and D) Minister to those who are hungry or thirsty or naked or sick or in prison (Matthew 25:44)... and DO those things in this broken and painful world.

Therefore, I hold each of those precious children in my prayers, along with their grieving parents and siblings. I pray for peace that surpasses understanding for the survivors of the rampage, the medical and law enforcement personnel, and their families.

And I love them. Those grieving, those traumatized, those gone... and even those who have committed such horrors. Yes, even them. What pain is in a life that pursues such evil? It must be immense.

And I serve. I volunteer to feed the hungry. I donate to provide water to the thirsty. I care for the sick. I work to provide opportunity for the disenfranchised. I try to support those who work tirelessly to stop the school to prison pipeline.

It's never enough.
I can't make it enough. That is up to God. I trust Him to comfort those left behind by yesterday's senseless violence. I rejoice in the sure knowledge that, in the end, He will make it Right somehow. I don't have to understand how; it's enough that I can trust that He will.

And I do.

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