The nation and the world were devastated this week when a gunman opened fire and randomly killed adults and children at an elementary school in Connecticut. Since that day, we have all gone through and continue to go through our own mourning. In the last few days, I have heard many people ask, "Why would God let this happen?" and "If there was a God, this wouldn't happen," and "God did this as punishment."
This all made me think about God, the role He plays in our lives and more importantly it made me think of those who state that there is no God and who use situations like this as an example of why they believe the way they do. I hope you will indulge me as I try put into words my answer to these people.
I think we can all agree that every person has choices. I prefer to call this 'free will.' Everyday, every moment of every day, we make choices that change our lives in one way or another. These choices alter the rest of our lives in tiny ways or in grand ways, but each choice has its consequences. For those of us who believe in God and know Him to be a loving, forgiving God, we believe that He gave us free will: the right to choose between good and/or bad. Each decision we make can be catagorized as good or bad and alters our walk through this life.
Good brings with it love, truth, freedom, happiness, comfort, and ultimately--life.
Bad brings with it hate, lies, captivity, sadness, pain, and ultimately--death.
The choices that the young man who was responsible for this heinous act chose veered him away from the good, away from the Light, away from God and led him towards the bad, towards the Dark, towards Satan.
God never said that we would not have sadness, that there would not be death, but He did say that if we put our trust and our lives in His hands that He would walk us through the sadness and through death to happier times and ultimately to Eternal Life.
I don't have any answers to why this or any other tragedy happens. In the same way that I don't know why war must occur and that our soldiers must die, but I do believe that God cries harder than we do when tragedy and death strike. I do believe that God's heart breaks when He watches his creation make choices that cause them to walk down a path that leads them further from Him. And, I do believe that He waits with open arms to welcome us back when we ask for forgiveness, when we change the path we are walking on, and when we cry out to Him for mercy and grace and love and forgiveness.
I'm not trying to stand on a soapbox and preach. Trust me, I have as many faults as anyone and probably more than most, but I also have faith in a loving, forgiving God who forgives me of my indiscretions when I ask with sincerity and welcomes me into His arms when I have strayed like the prodigal son. We all, regardless of faith or religion, need to learn to not put our ultimate trust in ourselves or in others, but to put it in something, someone who is greater than we are. We need to put it in God.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives were touched by this and every other senseless death. I pray that those involved and those of us who look on in disbelief look towards God for comfort and that we all find a way to continue to see the good in people. I pray for the souls of the departed and that they are all in their heavenly home with God.