Is this the question you’ve been asking, from the moment we began to hear of the horrifying, inexcusable slaughter of the innocents in the Sandy Hook kindergarten/grade school?
Isn’t God, as He is pictured and worshiped by millions of us, all powerful, all knowing , omnipresent, full of grace and divine love for us all? Couldn’t He – didn’t He – know this demon-driven young man, armed and bent on terrible annihilation, was heading toward the school with unthinkable murder in his heart and blood already on his hands?
Couldn’t He have stopped him, caused his car to blow a tire or even be stopped by a state trooper for some violation? Couldn’t He have intervened in any number of ways and prevented the senseless deaths of 20 little, trusting and beautiful children, created in His very image?
Where was God?
God was where He always was. Where He always is. Present.
He wasn’t in the school; the school was in His presence. We are in His presence. The Bible reveals that the whole panoply of human existence, all that ever happens, down to the most personal detail, is known to the One who created all things. It’s beyond our comprehension, of course, because we are finite, limited in our ability to understand the Infinite, but God sees, God knows, God intervenes when He chooses, but mainly when He’s invited into the human condition by those He created and gave free will.
And God weeps. I’ll come back to that.
Like all of us who have become parents, He loves us deeply and wishes that each of His children would have trouble free, happy and productive lives. But like us, He knows that His kids, if left totally to their own devices and desires, will mess up in ever worse ways, and eventually make choices that will lead to disaster or destruction. In fact, His Bible states flatly, “It is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps”; and again, “There is a way that seemeth right to a man … but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12
Still He loves us, and doesn’t want us to be robots, programmed to obey Him without question or even choice. Like us (or really, us like Him), He wants children who choose, even desire to be like Him and seek relationship with Him. He knows we’ll mess up and often follow our own selfish desires – and as part of the learning process, He allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices.
Wait, though. Like us good parents, He’s cautioned and taught and admonished His children in good directions, even created and given us the most miraculous Book ever written – the Bible –which explains simply and completely where everything came from, what it all means, and Who He is and how willing He is to help us live healthy and productive lives. In effect, it’s actually the manufacturer’s handbook, the instruction manual for life.
In the first 200 years of our existence as a nation, the Bible was our guide, the source of our laws and the bedrock of our character. Every one of our early great colleges, and all our schools, taught the Bible along with science, history, math and the arts. It formed the DNA of America. And America became the greatest nation in the world.
Then some strange things began to happen.
“Progressive,” “humanistic,” relativistic, even atheist activists approached the courts and schools across America and persuaded some like-minded people in influential places that it was unconstitutional to have a moment of voluntary prayer to start the school day, and eventually even the mention of God’s name in a school program or a student’s valedictorian address!
The vast majority of Americans allowed a few militant, narrow-minded activists to effectively exclude the calming, moral, motivational and spiritual guidelines for healthy living from the daily environment of our children.
We let them shut God out of our schools and out of the very lives of countless young kids.
With what predictable result? In just the last few years, unprecedented in our history, our schools are hotbeds of drug usage and trafficking, guns and violence, rampant sexual immorality (some involving teachers with students), increasing required subject matter teaching kids all manner of things that the Bible condemns. And we don’t see the connection?
And the quality of the education itself is declining in shocking, undeniable ways. Of course, how could it be otherwise, in such a rudderless, polluted environment? While parents send their children to school, hoping they’ll come back alive?
Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, I’ve watched scores of “experts” suggesting gun control, mental health programs, more government involvement and supervision (like this president’s former “safe school czar,” Kevin Jennings, an avowed homosexual and pedophilia advocate). All proposing Band-Aids for an open, festering, obvious moral cancer in our belly.
I’ve wanted to shout from the housetops, “Stop addressing the symptoms of all this corruption and degradation! Let God back into our schools, our classes, our children’s lives!! Can’t you remember just a few years ago, when kids were reminded daily about “the Golden Rule,” “Thou shalt not kill,” “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world”? Were there any roaming monsters in the school halls, then, gunning down anybody they confronted, including their own classmates?”
Above, I quoted the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
You need to read that episode to get the full impact of that: God, in the flesh, weeping over the mortality, the sorrow, the “lostness” of mankind. He was present, He was involved, “deeply moved in spirit,” and He could do something about it. And He did. He raised Lazarus from the dead. But He was invited, He was sought, He had a personal relationship with the mourners. He was their friend and brother. He had not been excluded from their lives.
And very soon after that, He hung mutilated, crucified, excluded and dying on a cross, crying to His Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
God hadn’t forsaken His own son. Together, before the world began, they had agreed to pay the price for our own terrible choices and to offer eternal salvation to all, to every one who would believe and receive it. He would not always prevent a doomed world, a fallen humanity, from suffering the consequences of excluding Him from our lives.
But He was present. At the cross and at Sandy Hook.
Present. And weeping