Tears from heaven

The past couple of days – since I heard of the shooting in Connecticut – I have been trying to make some sense of something so awful. I should be studying but this wrestling has taken over and words are overflowing out of me and I know that I must write.

When life became hard at home, I searched the Scriptures for comfort and answers. I read whatever I could. In university, I was quite pleased to find myself in a course that asked the very question that was so deep to me – how can a good God who is all-powerful and all-knowing exist with evil? My philosophy course did not provide any hopeful answers.

So I kept searching. I talked to people. I read. I listened to sermons. I prayed. I studied theology.

I wrote my BA thesis on suffering and needing to be rooted in Christ – how I got that topic approved in the philosophy department was a miracle unto itself! Studying and reading and writing has shaped my thinking about suffering and ultimately, I have found that if there is any hope, it is in Christ.

Last night, as I was preparing for children’s ministry, I wondered how I might respond should the children be aware of the shooting. And I had no words. All my reading and pondering did not provide adequate answers. Because of my own experiences of suffering, I will never tell a child (or anyone else) to trust God and everything will be fine. My faith as a young teenager was innocent and earnest. And I prayed every night that God would keep me safe from my Dad. Some nights I even stayed up reading Scripture because I thought if I was spending time with God, surely he would protect me. It has taken me years to see that God did actually protect me – but not in the way I was asking. Somehow he protected the most precious thing – my soul – and after a lot of painful wrestling, I can honestly say that God loves me more than i can imagine or understand. Somehow God kept me turning back to him, even when I wandered away. But the abuse continued. And it did not stop until friends helped me leave home. I cannot quell fears of those I know by saying that God will protect them if they trust in him.

I asked a few trusted friends for resources or help in thinking about this and how to approach this with the children. I went to children’s ministry with fear and trepidation that I had nothing to say… nothing helpful…and that the big question of why would have to go unanswered because I dont understand. My friends encouraged listening and responding with the honest “I don’t know” to the question of why.

One child asked why would anyone want to kill children.

Another child said that they haven’t want to think about it because it is just too hard to think about.

I’ve walked with a lot of people who have suffered awful things. but seeing children tear up, speak of their fear and ask why was one of the most painful moments ive experienced. All I can think of is Christ’s response to Mary when lazurus died. I did not provide answers as I have none and dont really believe there are adequate ones. I did say that I believe this, along with other things, hurts God.

One of the children asked me if the rain today was God’s tears. Profound moment.

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