The past 5 days have been bleak, sad days. The news exploded on Friday with the coverage of the tragedy in Newtown, CT. The inconceivable murder of 20 innocent children and 7 adults with no explicable reason or rationale to help us make sense out of it all.
Of course the questions abound – they are almost endless. Especially what are called the theodicy questions. Here’s the short list of them:
Why did God do this?
Why did God let this happen?
Why didn’t God do something to stop this?
If God is loving, why does evil continue to prevail in our world?
Isn’t God in control of everything?
Three things that come to mind that are my thoughts on this.
First, why do we automatically lay this at the feet of God or blame God? Why don’t we blame Satan and pure evil that corrupts the souls of people? Why don’t we blame the brokenness of our culture and society which glorifies violence? Why don’t we blame ourselves for our lack of responsibility and vigilance to preserve and pass on the attitude and actions that “do no harm?” I think the blame lies more with us than it does our Creator – God didn’t load the clips with bullets. God didn’t put the gun in Adam Lanza’s hand and God didn’t pull the trigger. A moral human being with free-will did all of these things by his own choice.
Second, I believe that God is weeping with the parents of these children and the family members of the administrators and teachers. I believe it breaks God’s heart when ever an innocent person dies at the hands of someone who is intending to inflict fatal harm. I don’t believe that God uses this as judgment and punishment for sin because that would violate God’s love for each of us. But I do believe in accountability and that God will hold each of us responsible for our choices and actions – those that are a sin against God and our neighbors.
Third, the scandal of all of this is that God has not abandoned us. Christmas reminds us that God choose to come and dwell with us. Leaving the throne of heaven, God took on flesh and in the form of Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph, he came to walk with us. God does not stand outside of our pain and suffering, our anxiety, our anger, and our brokenness. God experienced every single emotion that we all go through; God experienced the devastation of death at someone else’s hand; God knows full well the brokenness of humanity. And yet God offers freely love and grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And through love and grace, the indwelling Spirit of God grants to us hope, peace, love and joy.
I know this much – for me and my house, I want us dwell in God’s love and grace so if something tragic happens to us, our doubts and fears will be met by God’s overwhelming presence of peace.
In the light of this tragedy, what does Christmas mean to you?
Do you blame God for what happened in Newtown, CT?