This is not new to God. He has been comforting Mommies and Daddies for centuries as the wickedness of man so often tears out hearts. The comfort I find is when I think of all those children sitting on Jesus knee or holding his hand as together they explore the wonders of Heaven. They will never hurt again. They will never have to face the struggles and atrocities of this world again. They have been spared so much heartache and they are now surrounded by perfect abounding LOVE.
On the other hand I would not want to be the man who sent them to Heaven so soon. Jesus said that if any of us caused one of His little ones to stumble it would be better if a millstone were tied around his neck and that he be thrown into the sea. No, I would not want to be anywhere near where that man is, right now and forever.
But when I think of all the people left behind sorting through this and trying to make sense out of something so senseless, I am saddened beyond words and my heart aches for those who are seeking answers where there really are none. Dear God, please surround those who are hurting with Your family and speak your words through us. Show us the actions that will comfort and give us the wisdom to know when not to do or say anything.
My girls missed the bus today and I had to take them to school. There was much more traffic than usual and so many adults standing watch. I walked Noah to school as usual and again all around there were teachers and police standing guard over the little ones. As Noah entered the school the door was locked behind him. Later for afternoon kindergarten the scene was much the same. Parents and teachers watching extra carefully that their children were safe. I smiled to myself with understanding but also realized that the most recent tragedy happened to children who were already "safe" inside the school. So what can we do? I know this sounds trite but it is true - we can pray.
Pray for what? Their safety, of course, but sometimes safety isn't granted. What then? Do we assume that our God is not big enough? Do we assume he really doesn't care? Sometimes it feels that way. My mind flashed back to the moment I had to tell my 8 year old and 6 year old what happened in Connecticut. I felt so helpless telling them that they were safe as I saw fear spark in their eyes. I couldn't confidently tell them that nothing would happen to them because we live in a really really messed up world. Instead, I told them that we pray for them everyday and that God has His angels all around them and they would protect them and keep them safe, even if someday that safe means they hide you in Heaven.
Noah gave me that quirky little look of Mom, what on earth are you talking about? I kind of giggled glad for the tension breaker. "Think about it," I said, "What's the worst thing that could ever happen to you?"
With his finger pointing in an ahha moment, Eli declared, "You die!"
"Exactly," I exclaimed. "And when you die where are you?"
"Heaven!!" they shouted in unison.
A look of relief passed over their faces and in no time they were laughing and talking about all the stuff they can't wait to do in Heaven, like ride on a dinosaur or swim with a shark. And best of all we would all be together with Jesus. That is the hope we can give our children. It is the same hope that Jesus offers us. There is someplace where this stuff doesn't happen. There is a place where we never have to fear or cry again, it is Heaven. In our family Heaven isn't someplace we never think about, it is a place we all look forward to and desire to be in. When Jesus is your Savior then nothing this world dishes out can destroy us because even it's worst ultimately brings about the most wonderful moment of our lives - we finally enter the gates of Heaven. That is Hope in the midst of tragedy. It doesn't make being here hurt any less and it certainly doesn't suggest that we should just go on our merry way when faced with tragedy. Living here hurts. But that's why Jesus was born. He came here to live among us. He came here to hurt with us. He came here to hunger with us. He came here to feel like us and He came to tell us about a better place.
When He was born Herod sent out his army and slaughtered all of the babies two years old and under in an effort to destroy such hope as Christ. The enemy is trying again to destroy our hope, which he will succeed in doing if our hope is misplaced. Our hope can be in nothing less than Jesus! We must pass that same Hope on to our children. And they must pass it on to theirs. There are so many things in this world that will fight for our time and energy and steal away our opportunities to train them and teach them the ways of God. We must wage war against such things and give them Hope in the midst.
As Jesus grew up, the enemy tried again to steal away our Hope by getting Jesus to give up on God's plan. He tried to distract Him from what was right. He spoke nice sounding lies to try and trick him into choosing a different path. But praise God, Jesus knew Truth and would not be swayed. When faced with temptation after temptation, distraction after distraction He knew what to do. He spoke Truth into the situation and the enemy had to flee. We must teach our children to recognize the Truth so they can also cause the enemy to flee when he comes to steal, kill and destroy their minds. Scripture must be known in our homes because the enemy will try to twist it and sound similar to lead us astray. We must know the Truth so we can be free from his tricks and he must flee.
Later the enemy tried again to destroy Hope. Jesus was hung on a cross and beaten beyond recognition. Surely, the enemy believed he had won. Even Jesus followers were hiding and now Satan's greatest weapon was about to be unfurled. He hurled death upon Jesus in the most horrific way for all to see and know that Hope was gone. Even the sky turned black in sorrow. But that isn't the end of the story! Death did not win! Jesus took Satan's greatest weapon and turned it into Hope's greatest victory. Because He rose again! He is alive forevermore!!! He has lived with us and He knows us and He has gone to prepare a place for us that will be even better than our greatest imagination! In the midst of such tragedy we will cry and we will hurt. But we can Hope! We can Hope that one day we will see Him and each other once again. This isn't a hope like we blow out our candles and hope we get our wish. This is living real Hope for a forever place where there is no more pain or goodbyes or senseless atrocities. It is a place where those little children are safe and one day if we will accept the invitation, it is a place we will have the joy of entering, also.
We live in dark days. We live in frightening days. But we have a choice. We can live in fear and trembling or we can live with victorious hope knowing that in the end our Savior wins!!! That is the safest place our babies can be. That is how we can go on after news stories such as this. That is how we can kiss our baby on the cheek and send them through their day. It is by knowing the Hope that we have in Christ. He will keep His little ones safe even if sometimes that means keeping them safe in Heaven, where we will one day join them and have eternity to love on them.
Honestly, I started out writing with a whole different story but this is where God took me so this is where I will end. However, I would be a fool to believe that every person who reads this blog knows personally of the Hope that I have spoken of. If you are one who has that Hope, be encouraged to share it and treasure it and protect it because it is a treasure worth giving your life for. Jesus did. But if you read this and wonder if you have it or wonder how to get it, click on the picture below and it will take you to a link that will very briefly explain how to have that Hope living in you. I pray that you will accept that Hope whose name is Jesus into your life and if you do, would you let me know so that I can rejoice with you? Thank you and welcome to the family!
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us