He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Brokenhearted. I’ve watched my kind-hearted, preacher-husband respond to the brokenhearted as he has faithfully shepherded our flock here in Charlotte for over thirty years. I’m taking a pause in our Journey through James to share David’s response to yesterday’s senseless rampage in Newtown. Thought you might find it comforting.
From the blog of David Chadwick:
How do people of faith respond to the shootings in Connecticut? What is the appropriate Christian response to this sad, senseless act of violence?
With great humility, I offer these thoughts from my heart to yours, knowing that no one response is completely adequate. Here is my best attempt.
- Please pray. Pray especially for the parents and relatives of those who lost children. Pray for support, care, love and kindness to be extended to them. Pray there will be people of faith to come alongside them, loving them, speaking more with their presence than any words. Pray their hearts will not grieve hopelessly.
- Think Biblically. Evil and tragedy don’t make much sense apart from a Biblical worldview. Though this world was created “very good,” perfect in every way (Genesis 1,2), a ferocious “Fall” has engulfed all of creation. Sin has permeated every part of God’s once-perfect world. ”For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it…” (Romans 8:20). Thorns and thistles now accompany our work (Genesis 3:17-19). Women have pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16). ”All is vanity” is throughout the book of Ecclesiastes. The word “vanity” is the same word as “futility” that Paul uses in Romans 8. All in creation is broken, fallen, vain, futile, far short of God’s glory, purpose and perfection.
- Realize sin indwells and permeates each human heart. The capacity for good and evil lies within us all. Each human heart, untouched by God’s grace but focused on evil, will enlarge, if unchecked, to capacities of evil like a man shooting his mother and 20 children in the state of Connecticut. Obviously, this man yielded to anger, resentment and hurt that motivated gross anger. It must have exacerbated over time. Jesus was correct: murder begins in the angry human heart (Matthew 5:21,22). His teaching is a reminder for all of us to check anger, bitterness and resentment before it acts unabated and unrestrained from our hearts.
- Jesus came to change the human heart. But to do so, he first made himself very vulnerable. God in human flesh, vulnerable to death as a baby (Ie. Herod trying to kill him), is the first enormous evidence of God’s love. God on a cross, vulnerable to death as a grown adult, shows the extent to which God would suffer to capture our hearts with his grace. One of the reasons I’m a Christian is the unique perspective of the Christian faith on suffering. God entered human history and suffered as we suffer. There is nothing we experience, even a tragic, senseless death, that God does not understand. Therefore, as we all cry over the Connecticut shooting (even our President wept), we need to remember that God is also crying. He mourns as we mourn. He cries as we cry. He weeps as we weep. This tragedy, and all suffering, was never apart of his original intent.
- This broken world will not last forever. ”For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:15). The world’s evil and suffering won’t last forever. There are 300 reminders in the New Testament that Jesus will one day return. The One who entered the world once will return again. He came first as a baby to establish grace in our hearts. He will come again to establish the justice and perfection that existed in Eden. We long for that day. We know it will come. In that day rests all our hopes amidst our suffering.
Come soon, Lord, Jesus. Come soon.
“Father, grant comfort and peace to all who are suffering throughout the world, especially the friends and families of those who lost little ones in Connecticut. Let them know you’ve not forsaken or deserted them. Let them know that as they suffer, they know you too suffered. Let them realize that the Father of the universe lost his Son to mindless murderers. Walk with them. Give them strength when they don’t think they can take another step. Be with them. Never forsake them. And may our prayers of grace and hope pour forth to them, especially in the days to come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
To read more of David’s bogs, click here.