You already know that a gunman killed 20 kids and six adults in a Connecticut school this week. You already know how the bottom of your heart fell out and how badly you wanted to hug your kids when you heard the news. You already know the rage you feel at the shooter. You already know how hard it is to think about your terror if it happened at your child’s school. You already know that sometimes you just have to change the channel, turn it off because it’s just too much to process, too much to imagine your own child not walking out of that elementary school door with all the others.
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 that only the full wealth of Christian conviction can provide.
He also made a persuasive point to support the idea that children go to heaven when they die that I haven’t heard before, from Deuteronomy 1:39.
That realism (about suffering) may be hard to see at Christmastime, when the sentimental side of faith owns the cultural stage. But the Christmas story isn’t just the manger and the shepherds and the baby Jesus, meek and mild.
The rage of Herod is there as well, and the slaughtered innocents of Bethlehem, and the myrrh that prepares bodies for the grave. The cross looms behind the stable — the shadow of violence, agony and death.
In the leafless hills of western Connecticut, this is the only Christmas spirit that could possibly matter now.
– Psalm 10 — (HT to my brother for pointing folks to this). The Psalmist goes through all the normal human emotions in response to wickedness and tragedy. Why does God seem to hide himself in times of trouble? Why do the wicked prosper? We don’t always know, but there is this ultimate reminder:
The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
(Psalm 10:16-18 ESV)