This Bible verse continues to waft through my mind as I pray for the families in Newtown, and I contemplate their tragedy.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:18)
…A voice has been heard in Connecticut, weeping and great mourning; mothers weeping for their children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
The scripture from the gospel of Matthew is in reference to Herod’s order to kill all boys under age 2 after the Magi didn’t tell him where they found Jesus. How many little boys died when he ordered their deaths? He, however, was not the first ruler to order such atrocities. Years earlier, an Egyptian pharaoh ordered midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys at their birth. Two midwives defied his orders and baby Moses survived. But how many died?
Another ruler comes to mind—Hitler. How many children died in the Holocaust?
Children have been the victims of evil since the construction of the pyramids—way before the invention of guns.
Yet our hearts lie shattered on the sidewalk, our voices caught in our throats, our minds swirling with questions: Why? What can we do? How do we prevent this? Has God left our country?
I’m so embarrassed by some of the responses of Christians who blame this horrific event on prayer no longer allowed in our schools and the changing religious climate of our government.
Would these same Christians have said similar things when Christ hung on the cross? Would they have said, “He must not have obeyed God!”? Nothing could’ve been farther from the truth.
May I apologize for these remarks by Christians? I am so sorry. I am so sorry we’ve desperately tried to join church and state. I’ve been guilty, but I’m beginning to understand we’ve done so out of fear rather than love. Perfect love cast out fear.
God has not left us or our schools or our children. He promises that he never will. So, that begs the question: Why do these terrible things happen? Why cancer, Alzheimer’s, guns, drugs, evil, death, starvation, pain, grief… darkness? I don’t have the answer, but I do know how I’ve learned to cope through these terrible things.
I pray. I ask God to show me how to pray. And I pray that the death of these little ones will not be in vain. I pray that somehow, some day, what was meant for evil will be turned around for good. And I cling to this verse from the Bible with the hope of heaven:
“Then I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea (a gap that separated man from God). I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).
We won’t just stop crying; He will take the tissue and tenderly wipe our tears.