A Shared Grief
As the news from the tragic school shooting in Connecticut comes in, it’s becoming obvious how even our sincerest condolences seem glib. These are the times when raw emotion cannot be captured in a single phrase. The wound is too deep; the pain too visceral; the reality too piercing. Words cannot help but fail us.
In time, of course, we will begin to debate what, if anything this day means.
Some will call for more political action. They will call for more gun control or for more security at schools. Others will respond that this is merely the politicizing of a tragedy. Debate will ensue.
Others will rightly point out that our reaction to these deaths show how little we care for other children who die from violence. We take for granted that our kids won’t be bombed or terrorized like so many in the rest of the world. Few of us in the West shed a tear for children violently killed in the Middle East or North Korea or in their mother’s womb.
Yet as condolences begin to pour in from around the world, I can’t help but ask if there is anything that we can offer as Christians at this moment of incomprehensible agony.
Of course we must grieve with those who grieve. Even Jesus wept at the tragic death of a close friend. And we must pray. Well-meaning people of many faiths and no faith are sending their thoughts and prayers to those impacted.
But Christian prayer is different.
We don’t simply ask a supernatural power for comfort for the hurting or for wisdom on how to cope. We turn to Someone who is also a parent, a Father whose innocent Son was murdered too. His wounds were deep and visceral and piercing.
Worse of all, He had the power to prevent that tragedy and stop the killers but didn’t. Why? Because of times like this. He carried the cross so that we know He could carry ours; He faced that unspeakable grief so that we would never have to grieve alone.
Words may fail us now but in our prayers and in our grief we must remind others that our God won’t fail. He’s already lived through this tragedy and He wants to help us do the same.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17