Heavy Heart

I have a lot I need to post about – we have had two parent visits, two holiday parties and general Christmas cheer going on around here.  But the victims of last Friday’s shooting in Newtown, CT have been on my heart and mind in a very real way since I heard the news.  My heart aches for them.

Having been through a terrible shooting while I was a student at Virginia Tech, I was taken back to that feeling of sickened helplessness and my heart is just broken for every single person in the community – for all of  the children, parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, care givers, first-responders, and loved ones.  I also feel for those in the community who may not have known someone personally, but who nonetheless feel the weight and violation in a very real way.

I don’t have any profound words to share.  Only my prayers.  In many ways, I cannot come close to understanding what the mothers, fathers, teachers and children are going through.  I still have nightmares and get uncomfortable sitting in a room full of people, wondering if tragedy were to strike again, would I have an escape route?  I hate that more people have been subjected to this.

All I know is that Jesus is the answer.  But I know that many people will use this as an excuse to get angry; to question God.  To turn away from His love and grace.  I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances in the past why, if there is a God, he would allow things such as this, or any of the other tragedies of our history, to happen?  Their questions never caused me any doubt or pause, because I know in my heart that He is who He says He is.  He is our loving Creator, Savior and Father.  But I’m afraid that I have not done a good job of explaining this.  A theologian, pastor, wordsmith I am not.  But here is my attempt.

The problem is sin.  These tragedies break God’s heart, just as they break ours.  This is NOT what He wants for us.  In fact, he sent His Son to earth to save us from ourselves, from our sin.  Jesus lived a perfect life only to die senselessly, horrifically, in a way He did not deserve.  He died at the hands of the very ones he came to save. God understands the pain of losing a child.  He suffered not only the separation from His Son while he was on earth, but then felt the profound pain of losing his child to evil.  God understands suffering.  He didn’t have to come to earth and get “in the trenches” of suffering and pain with us.  But He loved us, even in our sinful, unworthy state, enough to send His son to save us.

This subject is obviously worth more time of study and reflection.  These are just one girl’s words and I cannot do the subject the justice it deserves.  And human understanding can only take us so far before you have to rely on faith.   Which I love.  To be able to fall, time and again, into the loving, capable arms of our savior and know that He is sovereign over this crazy mess we live in.  It is freeing.

Keep praying for those affected by Friday’s tragedy.  Keep praying long after the story has left the media.  The victims healing and coping process will take all of that and then some.  Pray hard and pray specifically.

Waiting until I can hug/squeeze/love on my mother (teacher), my sister-in-law (teacher) and my precious baby niece and nephew…and all of my other loved ones.

~Rebecca

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