Friday morning I found myself in a similar place to many people, speechless. “an Unspeakable horror” is the phrase that best captured the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. We all know the facts 27 people killed, 20 of who were only 6 or 7 years old, 6 school teachers/ administrators and a [forgotten] mother murdered at her own son’s hands.
There are no words to say.
It seems as if Christians both liberal and conservative do not understand this, there are no words to say. My Liberal friends yelling about gun control, and my Conservative friend’s outcry over God not being in public schools is equally as loud. Though I think both side of this discussion must be heard, and I agree with both to some extent, I’m just not sure that this is the time for it.
The problem lies in everyone’s opinion being propagated on Facebook and other social media streams as if this kind of sin and horrible loss is not absent in the pages of Scripture. Therefore my “Christian” friends that choose to spout there opinions instead of reflecting on what God has said and acting on it is troubling to say the least. It reflects how much we actually hold on to this world instead of living as citizens of God’s Kingdom.
In the book of Job, Job’s family was murdered by the devil, and Job responded with a heart of faith: “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Next his three friends arrive after Job suffers his “Unspeakable horror”. The Bible says that his friends “began to weep aloud…Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:12-13).
Additionally, Job asked “why?” as we are prone to do in this time. God never answered Job’s why question, nor did he permit Job to question His wisdom. Instead, God simply pointed Job back to His own glorious character, sovereignty and wisdom. Job found a place of respite when he rested there. I think we want answers, but God does not give us answers. Instead, he reveals his character and glory, and that is faith—leaning on the sovereign hand of God, not knowing why, but knowing who to lean on through the loss. God does not answer our questions; He IS our answer.
Finally, this sickening situation should open our eyes to the opportunity that this is. National crisis like this provide Christians an opportunity to do what we are called to do, to bear witness to the truth. Not in a glib way, not in a dispassionate way that is unaffected by grief, and certainly not in a self-righteous way. As we grieve with the victims, as we mourn the loss of life, we don’t do so without hope. There is an answer to evil and it is the cross of Christ, Christ who came to put away evil and to set all things right.
In suffering, the purpose of God is to lead us to Himself and His sufficiency in Christ. God pointed Job to His revealed glory in creation, yet we have so much more. Job did not know about the cross where God would reveal His glory, grace, and character as He had not done previously. He crushed his Son for [us] sinners. He demonstrated His love in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of the character of God. Death is not the end of the story for those who turn to Christ, but eternal life in the Son is. So in this we pray for the victims, their families, the shooter’s family, and all those affected. We grieve with them.
God invites us to be silent before this massacre, acknowledging the severe limits of our understanding.
Our God is good. He is alive on the earth hidden amid all of history’s “Unspeakable horror”.
Let’s remember the three friends who got themselves in big trouble once they started talking, poorly applying Scriptural truth in an attempt to “help” Job and “defend the integrity of God.”
Let us lament and [please] let us be silent.