It's sick, I know. It's tragic and incomprehensible to even fathom what those families are going through. They were preparing for Christmas and now they're planning funerals - something that's too much for most of us to even think about, and we wonder how they can possibly live through this. And the #1 question on most minds is "how could God allow such an awful thing to happen?"
As a Christian, I'll tell you the truth: I don't know. And I won't even try to justify or explain it either, because I'm not afraid to admit that I have absolutely no clue why this was allowed to happen. Honestly, I can't imagine how this tragedy could work toward any kind of good, now or even in the long term. How could the senseless death of 20 children be justified? How is that possible? I don't know.
Really, that's a conflict that many Christian's face, although many won't admit it. You can't justify faith, and when it comes to situations like this when you don't have the answer, I'm afraid that even many believers have too much pride to admit that they don't have all the answers and they can't explain why they choose to maintain a trusting faith in God when the truth is that they struggle with fear, doubts, and our own lack of understanding. They say "it is well with my soul," but I have yet to meet a person that's ok with any old thing that happens. "Whatever - praise God anyway!" is something I hear a lot from the mouth but I've NEVER seen in practice.
Here's my take on it: I know there's a big picture and this is part of it. I know God is grieved and will comfort the families in whatever way necessary, but I don't know why He let it happen. We aren't going to know that "big picture" this side of Heaven and for that reason I say: It's not alright. No, it isn't. It's evidence of the sin and imperfection of this world. It's tainted creation. I remember reading in one of C.S. Lewis' books that man was not created to die, so the very fact that we do as a result of sin is unnatural. Sin is unnatural. Bad things are unnatural. This world wasn't created for it, and yet everything got screwed up and God decided to let us keep on going anyway - to offer salvation through Christ, but we still have to do our time in this world, that teeters on the balance of the joy of creation and the chaos of sin. It's completely mucked up, and I'm putting that mildly because I try to keep this a PG-13 blog. So no, I don't say it's alright because it isn't. Suffering is NEVER alright. And yes, I know the paradox arguement that we wouldn't appreciate joy if we didn't know suffering but in the case of 20 dead children - yea, shove that arguement. Nobody wants to hear it. There is no justification for it.
You know what I say? If you're confused, admit it. If you're mad, go ahead and say it. Yell and scream at God if you need to. Tell Him where it's at. He can take it. And frankly, He would rather you get mad and just let it rip then lie and say "ok, whatever, you lead the way." I think you come through these shattering trials a lot better if you're honest enough to say "hey God, this sucks! It's Festivus for the Rest of Us. I've got a lot of problems and You're gonna hear about it!"
Go ahead and do it. It's not a dare and I'm not speaking in jest. Because above all the chaos, beyond all the madness, God is love. That's why He let us go on and chose Salvation over abandonment. Because sometimes life sucks, but He still loves us and the creation He made. He still wants us. And nothing you say or do will make Him stop loving you. So go ahead and yell and scream. He can take it. In fact, I believe He'd be glad you trusted enough to tell Him the truth. So let it rip.
I'd also like to say one more thing. This is awful, and it's no secret that people are crazy and lunatics are everywhere. No doubt, our mental health system is in need of drastic reform because things like this just keep happening - but I dealt with that particular issue after the massacare at the movie theater in Colorado last summer, and there's no need to digress. But please try to remember that there is still good out there. I heard the story of the mother that told her child that if she was scared to look for the helpers because the helpers are always there. That's absolutely true. God did allow this to happen, but He also made sure there were people there to help. That there were healers and protectors and leaders around that could be there and guide those that were lost, confused, or hurt. It might be hard to see, but good is out there. There are still people around that want to do what's right and to help others any way they can. Look for their light in this darkness.
Ok, that's my soapbox speech for the day. No doubt, it's been a crazy few days. I pray we can all heal and come to some sort of resolution to this, even if it's a unity in our grief and confusion now and in the days to come.
Pray for those families, folks. They need all the help they can get and while we can't all be there for them, collective prayers could be the most powerful help for them now.
Have a good start of the week, folks. Take care and be careful out there.