I had a great idea for a funny article this week about Christmas shopping, decorating, etc., but I lost my sense of humor last Friday.
Before I go any further I need to warn you this article does have a lot of religious references. If you prefer not to read anything that refers to religion you may want to read one of the other wonderful blogs on redroom.com.
On Friday morning I was watching the news while drinking my coffee. I do this every morning and generally turn the TV off after about thirty minutes. In fact I was reaching for the remote when a breaking news report came through saying there had been a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. I was stunned when I heard the first report which said there were twelve dead inside the school. Then the numbers continued to climb. Fifteen, eighteen, and finally ending at twenty-six victims. Twenty of them were children under the age of nine. All I could think was, why? Why would anyone go into a school, eleven days before Christmas, and kill twenty innocent children? Six teachers also gave up their lives protecting their small charges. A few minutes later they reported the gunman had taken his own life and I have to admit I wasn’t upset to hear that. He also took the life of his mother while she was still lying in bed. It was like a nightmare and I wondered about my own elementary school age grandchildren. Were they safe? Was some sick individual watching this on TV while thinking it sounded like a good idea? Would their school be the next target for a madman?
But this isn’t about the horror I felt. I imagine every sane person who heard this felt the same horror and indignation that I was feeling. It’s about the why.
Why would anyone do this? How could a loving and benevolent God allow this to happen? The answer is, I don’t know. I wonder this every time I hear a story like this.
I’ve been a Christian all of my life. I grew up in the Church, I go to Mass on Sundays, I pray quite often, and sometimes I just talk to God when I’m alone and express my sadness, thankfulness, or happiness to Him. I know He hears me because I’ve seen His work in my own life. I would like to tell you that I had a ‘burning bush’ moment where God came and told me the reason for this tragedy but I didn’t. I heard some so-called religious figures on TV say this was God’s will but I don’t believe that. I heard others say it happened because we are a people full of sin who have taken God out of our lives. I don’t believe that either. The God I worship and adore doesn’t kill small, innocent children because he’s mad at everybody else.
What I do believe is there is evil in this world. It is a strong and powerful force and, in my opinion, it is getting stronger and bolder in its actions. Christians call this evil force Satan. Whatever name it is called by it is a strong and attractive force. At one time Satan was a favored angel. The Bible describes Satan as being one of the most beautiful angels in heaven and highly favored by God. Then, of course, Satan was thrown out of heaven because he loved himself more than he loved God. His ways were not God’s ways. God gave His people freewill so they could choose between good and evil. He wants us to come to Him because we truly love and believe in Him. Not because we have no other choice.
Imagine you are sitting in a room with two equally attractive people. One of them tells you that if you choose him you will experience hardship at times, pain at other times, but in the end you will know love and happiness beyond anything you could possibly imagine. The other person tells you if you choose them you’ll be happy immediately! There will be no pain, no sorrow, just good times all the time. Which one would you choose? If you choose the latter you will have the good times. For a little while anyway. Eventually you’ll realize you’ve been lied to and will experience pain and regret beyond anything you could ever imagine. Evil lies. It makes wild promises that cannot be kept. It destroys your soul.
Evil was present the day of the shooting. It centered on destroying the things that are closest to our hearts. Our children and family. It delighted in our pain and suffering. The aim of the evil one is to make us turn away from God. I’ve read comments from people who are shaking their fists at God right now and asking where He was when all this happened. Rest assured He was there.
You can see Him in the faces of those that came to help and support the grieving families. In the actions of strangers who came to light candles, pray, and grieve with others. He gave the emergency responders the courage and strength to go into the building to do their jobs. His hand led some of the teachers to take action to protect the children. I believe He scooped up the souls of the victims and took them home before they could feel or experience the full impact of the horror. I believe the souls of the innocent victims are safe in His arms. Never again will they experience pain, illness, or sorrow. Someday they will be reunited with their families and it will be a joyous reunion. I believe he gave our president the words he needed to say to comfort the families. Any act of compassion or courage that you’ve seen or heard about was because of Him.
The question we need to be asking ourselves now is how can we prevent this from happening again? I believe there should be stricter laws concerning purchasing guns. I also believe it should be easier to get help for the mentally ill. If you’ve ever tried to get help for a mentally ill adult you will know that it is almost impossible especially if they are against getting any type of help or counseling. I’ve experienced this many times while working in the emergency room. I’ve had patients, brought in by desperate family members, that I knew had the potential to be dangerous. When I’ve tried to get them committed to an institution I’ve often been told they cannot do anything unless they have threatened to hurt themselves or someone else. By then it’s too late. It should be easier to get these people the help they desperately need. I don’t think it would hurt to dial down the amount of violence displayed in video games, movies, or some TV shows either.
In Matthew 5:4 it says,” Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”. God will comfort the souls left behind. The pain will never go away but it will become bearable. Their memories will always be there and eventually they will smile again and remember the good times. Eventually the press will leave Newtown, but I truly believe that God will not leave them. Evil, for now, has moved on and is looking for another target.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Newtown, Connecticut. May evil never again visit your town.