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Newtown

The Newtown, Connecticut, killing of 20 children and 6 adults once again raises mind-numbing questions.

As is the case of any premature death, or tragic loss, there are no adequate  answers for the grief and anger that follow. No attribution of mental illness, social pathology, cultural storming, demonizing, or finger-pointing can begin to fill the abandoned space of lost lives, and hope. The scope of human justice, as necessary as it is, will never right the wrongs of what happened not only in Newtown, but everywhere.

In what we call faith, and hope, we  look to the skies for answers. As we do many of us find One who adds to the mystery. Jesus said he came into just such a world not come to judge anyone, nor to condemn, but rather to die, and to rescue (John 3:17-21; John 12:47).

He believed his own death and resurrection would  provide a foundation that would ultimately resolve our need for justice and mercy. But we cannot explain how he will use the Judgeship entrusted to him by the Father, and all eternity, to right the wrongs of the ages.

In a world of desperate, mind numbing evil and loss, the good news proclaimed in Jesus name assures us that even the worst of sinners can find redemption, and that through the mercies of eternal life, there are answers for heart-broken victims.  Those answers, however, cannot be understood now, but only anticipated by faith in a God who would suffer, under the weight of the sins of the world, for us.

None of us yet understand how in the court of heaven accountability will work, nor how mercy will be shown. All we have is what we see and hear in the one Person who has shown himself trustworthy.

If it were not for evidence of the kind of God who reveals himself in Jesus, life would only scream and then try to ignore or forget the injustice and unfairness in and around us. Yet in his presence, there is reason to hope in one who cried with mourning friends (John 11:35), while saying to a dying criminal who asked to be remembered, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).


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41 Responses to “Newtown”

  1. BruceC says:

    My heart breaks for what happened in Newtown. All I can do is pray for those who have lost a loved one.
    Thank you for this post Mart to remind us that usually our definition of things like mercy and justice are far different than that of the King of the universe.
    I also pray that the media respect the families there and stop turning this into a circus and allow them to grieve and those that are there to help them get on with their work.
    Truly it is a reminder o how evil and fallen is the heart of man.
    I once read a statement made by someone that read “Jesus is the answer; now, what is the question?”
    As a retired Deputy that has seen his share of sorrow; all I can truly say is “Jesus help us.” Jesus, come quickly.”
    When you read the news of the world around us most of it seems bad and I am reminded that the Word says that things will get worse and worse. It also brings to mind the verse(I can’t recall at this time) that speaks to the condition of people in the last days.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. swwagner says:

    “Though He slay me…yet will I trust Him.” I can’t recall where that verse is (Job?, Psalms?). Anyway, someone was in great anguish when they wrote those words. In all of our pain, grief, groaning…he is the great I AM.

  3. swwagner says:

    Come Quickly, Lord Jesus

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Well said Bruce, we both have seen more than our share of the darkness evil brings to the world around us. And as Mart has stated we live in a world filled with injustice and unfairness and with people looking for answers that can never quench the pain we suffer.

    Back on December the 21st 1980 my 17 year old niece was killed by a car as she walked along a country road. As she lay in the casket she just looked as if she was asleep; the driver of the car (a seminary student) had fallen asleep and veered off the road and struck her from behind breaking her neck and killing her as her head was snapped backward from the collision. Not a cut or bruise on her thin small body.

    The pain the parents of these 20 children now suffer sickens me, God feels their heartache as His son was whipped and beaten unrecognizable then nailed to a cross and left to suffocate in pain.

    There is no answer that can take away the pain these families will for the remainder of their lives endure.

    Trusting God is no easy task, and yet it is what He asks of us to do.

    Steve

  5. aarvidi says:

    I find I am not close to God and when incidents of this nature happen – two things come to my mind. Too many incidents happen in this world, where is my Jesus. Is he really around. I can’t imagine a God who allows this. My faith may not be there, but surely Jesus, and children under 10 years old is painful. What did the children do or the parents. Does not Jesus love children?

    With all these doubts, even my believe shifts focus.

    I am sorry these comments may be amateurish to most of you, but there I am blabbering away, please forgive me.

    Comments by an unmet friend swwagner suggests hopelessness and defeat.

    R.V.David

  6. Mart De Haan says:

    R.V. David, thank you for putting words to your honest doubts. You are not alone.

  7. swwagner says:

    Hoplessness and defeat were not intended…God, in His wisdom and mercy has all things in His hands.

    My first reaction to such horrible tragedy is usually ANGER…and lots of it! Next, I become very sad with tears and may feel hopelessness for awhile. Slowly, God brings bits of scripture to my mind and I remember once again that He is bigger than my doubt, anger, and confusion. When I am swallowed up by the pain of loss and am drowning in every emotion, He is there to lift me up from those raging seas. Eventually, peace of mind & heart return.
    Jesus had to endure the bitterness of the cross (even asking if the cup could pass from Him). Thankfully He followed the will of the Father to bring joy to Himself and to us as well. Even if He slays us, yet we can trust Him(Job). He is the Christ, where else shall we go(Peter)?
    We are not assigned to a life of unhappy events that we have to pretend to like…we have salvation through a God who brings joy, hope, and love to our very troubled world. Praise Him!

  8. swwagner says:

    …and, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus…means that we are looking for the time when Jesus comes for us and puts an end to pain, sorrow, and suffering.

  9. bubbles says:

    Next week my students will be hugged a little longer and alittle tighter than usual.

    There are no words for what has occurred.

  10. tracey5tgbtg says:

    RV David – I am glad you posted your feelings and thoughts. I was just about to post a comment thanking swwagner for the posting from Job – “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”

    I wanted to tell swaggner that the verse comforts me but you were before me to say you could hear hopelessness in it. If our hope is only for this life, in this world, then of course, we have no hope, for no one gets to stay here, we are all going to die.

    My hope is in God alone and that when my flesh dies and returns to dust, my soul and spirit will at last be with God where He is.

    I know my words do not comfort, so I’ll be brief. Jesus loves those children more than we can fathom. From the beginning of time, he planned and numbered their days as is done with all of us.

    I know it does not make it easier. I have struggled with the thought of any of my three children dying. I know if they should die before me, my life will be just a shell of existance. Nothing could pull me out of despair and give me strength to go on, except the fact that I could turn to God in my anguish and know that He feels my pain and that He gives me peace that is beyond human comprehension. Peace that does that come from anywhere or anything or anyone on earth. Even clinging tightly to God, I would never be the same – I would carry pain with me until I died.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    R. V. David, thank you for your heart felt honesty it is always welcome and refreshing to hear people be honest.

    In WWII both sides of the issue began the unthinkable horror of bombing civilian targets and killing horribly tens of thousands even millions of people of all ages in an attempt to pressure a surrender. I have read as many as 27 million deaths were attributed to the horror of WWII.

    When I see evil played out all over the globe it is always senseless, ugly and as it incites anger, a desire for action and for those who believe in God, questions.

    If evil is trying to accomplish anything from such stark and senseless brutality, it has to be an attempt to force us to surrender our faith and hope in God to just trusting in our own abilities at facing life.

    Whereas there are no good answers to such carnage, it is a time to “close ranks” and assemble together in the name of Jesus of Nazareth for strength in this trying time and the ability to endure one more hour.

    No you are not alone in your doubts, but are shouldered by those of us who will hold you and all others up, united in prayer.

    Steve

  12. richo says:

    When I was a 12 year old boy, I lost my grandparents (Mom’s mother and father) in an auto accident. To this day, I can picture our pastor at the funeral, standing between the caskets, bawling out the old women who were shrieking and wailing. “What are you crying about! You are only feeling sorry for yourselves. No…. you don’t have them to love anymore. They are called home. They are with our Heavenly Father, and Jesus in heaven. They are feeling sorry for you!!” This may have been rather hard, but true.

  13. swwagner says:

    This is a tough and narrow line to walk…I know people who have been turned away from the Lord forever because it seems that He expects them to just “buck up” and accept the pain that has been given them.

    The Lord takes no pleasure in our pain and sorrow and does not dismiss it as trivial…He is full of mercy and compassion. It takes much prayer and dissernment when talking with those who are hurting. There will be healing…but the scars remain (Jesus has nail prints in His hands). Loss is not something you forget, it is something you learn to live with…something you use to bring about good even if the roots are in evil.

  14. swwagner says:

    All children (and adults) need to hugged a lot this next week. It seems that God has brought something to our nation to make us come together in love instead of arguing about taxes…I hope that we all take a look at what is truly important.

  15. tc00 says:

    Have never done anything like this, but here goes.

    Have been sitting here by myself all weekend thinking about those kids and tragedy that occured that IS different from any other school shooting of past to me- it’s, the age of children and how God can allow this to happen.

    God gives us all a free will- to develope as each of us desire, be it Godly or however. God allows us to take liberties from morals and grow as WE desire, and as a nation we must ALL suffer the consequences in a tragedy as this.

    Hopefully these liberties from morals will be reversed and we will again be headed down “the Godly road.”

  16. joep says:

    Every time there is a catastrophe–be it a tsunami, earthquake or mass killing–we try to explain how God could allow this to happen and each time we fail. Or at least I’m never satisfied by the explanation. The answers often remind me of the work of students who come to an exam totally unprepared and try to hot gas their way through a question. Don’t get me wrong. I commend the effort to try to explain because the question has to be addressed. How could God, who is supposed to deliver us from all evil, allow such evil to happen? In Luke 13, Jesus tackles a similar problem but he doesn’t answer the question. He answers another question instead, was this punishment for their sins? The answer, with both the death of a bunch of Galileans and the 18 who died when a tower in Jerusalem collapsed on them, is no. Unless we believe that death is not the end of life, incidents such as Sandy Hook, are good reasons to be an atheist.

  17. fadingman says:

    It’s easy for some of us (including myself) to give some kind of theological response. But now is the time to weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn, help in whatever way we can.

  18. castaway says:

    We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize . . . but one who in every respect has been tested as we are. (Hebrews 4:15)

    Overwhelming grief. Pain, a lot of pain.

    But doubts? Asking where was God during this tragedy? This is a “good reason to be an atheist?” Free will?

    Mass murders are ones why Jesus came into the world the way He did. So what kind of Savior is He?

    He is a suffering Savior. We need a Savior who has tasted the cup of horror we are being forced to drink.
    Murder is an assault on God. He made mankind in His own image. Destroying an image usually means you hate what the image represents. Murdering another person is not just murder; it’s treason against the Creator.

    “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

    Jesus spells out the punishment. Nobody escapes.

    “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21–22)

    He does not say unwarranted anger is the same as murder. But ask the heart-broken parents of the children Newtown, CT. He says both are liable to hell. Both come under a similar sentence from God.

    Why would Jesus say that?

    Because both are a sin against God, not just our fellow man. Jesus’s threat of Hell is not just because of the seriousness of murder against children, but to the seriousness of treason against God. In the mind of Jesus, heartfelt verbal name-calling and hatred against God’s image is an assault on the dignity of God, the worth of God. It is, therefore, in Jesus’s mind, worthy of God’s righteous judgment also.

    So what we saw yesterday in Sandy Hook was a picture of the seriousness of our own corruption. None of us escapes the charge of sinful anger and verbal venom. So we are all under the just sentence of God’s penalty. That is what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:21–22.

    And it is exactly what Jesus said also when people pressed him to talk about the time Pilate slaughtered the worshippers in the Temple. Instead of focusing on the dead or the murderers, He focused on all of us:

    “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:2–3)

    Which means that the young man in Newtown, CT is a warning to me — and you. Not a warning to see our schools as defenseless and to hire armed protection officers, but to see our souls as totally depraved.

    To see our need for a Savior.

    To humble ourselves in repentance for the God-diminishing bitterness of our hearts.

    To turn to Christ in desperate need, and to treasure His forgiveness, His transforming, and His friendship.

    The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Mere suffering would not do. Mere sovereignty would not do. The one is not strong enough to save; the other is not weak enough to sympathize.

    So he came as who He was: the compassionate King.

    The crushed Conqueror.

    The lamb-like Lion.

    The suffering Sovereign.

    Now He comes to Newtown, Connecticut.

  19. castaway says:

    correction – “Mass murders are just one of the reasons why Jesus came into the world the way He did. So what kind of Savior is He?”

  20. danzer says:

    To R V. David
    In 2006 due to my husband extra marital afair our 20 years marriage came to a surpriced collapse. Married to a non-believer I had spent many hours of prayer for his salvation and because we both had children of previous marriage. I believe that marriage was blessed by God, but maybe satan purpose was to make very difficult even thou I know we loved each other.
    During 2006 to 2009 I went through what I called “dark times” I fell into a deep depression mainly because “I could not understand” I believe I have a strong faith in our awesom Savior. Throughout all the three years I clinged to Him with requests and thankfulness and he conforted me a day at a time. about half way of this time I had to ask him why I was in such a mess when I had always done what I understood was the right thing to do including dealing with my non-believer husband. I did not request it, it just came in the mail one day. I received a book from Discovery House Publisher, the name is “Let God be god” by Stedman. It brought me to my knees when I read it and was remainded who our God is. There are many things we don’t understand and people with great faith at one time or another question our Lord about things that remaind us we are not in control but he is. The awesome part is that he does not get upset at our questios, he kindly remaind us that his love is unconditional and that there are things is not for us to understand now. But our Lord is good and he is our strength in difficul times even if we ask him why. You are loved and are not alone:)

  21. oceallaigh1969 says:

    Thank you Mart De Haan for your spiritual thoughts and the Word of God. This senseless behavior creates an empty void in our lives and yet emotions play a vital part in our spiritual journey good or bad. Evilness rears its ugly head only to rob us of God’s Love for His children and our children. I can relate to both individuals who served as a Law Enforcement officer (BruceC and SFDBWV). Evil is very dark and as a reitred educator of special needs and regular students, I’ve seen my share of satan’s works. There isn’t any easy answers for what happen in Newtown. I have seen what happens in a hostile envirnoment(Viet Nam 1970-72). Speaking from experience for those who lost loved ones, There is no greater Joy of PEACE and LOVE thorugh Jesus Christ. First I experience God’s Peace and then His LOVE. That is the Joy when you leave this earth to be in Jesus presence. I didn’t see Jesus, I did see the beautiful bright light and felt His presence and realized, We all are LOVED by our Heavenly Father. There is no greater JOY then being in His presence. I really didn’t want to come back but that wasn’t for me to decide. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but Jesus is always with us. We need to whisper His name from time to time. Jesus Calling by Sara Young is a good book and meditation resource to reflect on Jesus and what He did for us. This is my first time here and forgive me if I offended anyone. pk

  22. swwagner says:

    I agree.

  23. oneg2dblu says:

    To all who posted, thank you for your words. Your words bring us all comfort in these dark and evil times which we must now endure until we are called to uor home, or Christ returns. Come Jesus!
    Imagine if you can, how empty, lonely, guilty, and afraid of death are those who do not yet know the reality of Christ as their Lord.
    Our prayers are for them all as they do not have His Presence to help them through this hour of need.
    We all hurt, we all weep, we all anger, we all suffer, but we are never alone is doing so. Praise God!
    Many of them are lost today and that is such burden on my heart to pray that even through this time of dispare they will find His Peace, and His Presence is available to all who call upon Him. Come Jesus!
    Gary

  24. poohpity says:

    Evil and hatred are rebellion against God. Those who choose to deny that there is a God so they can behave in a way contrary to what He teaches. When we even go to someone in anger Jesus said it is like committing murder.

    When I think of those children and adults all crawling up into the lap of the Master, I find comfort. While those left here weep and grieve for the loss of those who are so precious and dear to them leaving a big hole in their hearts I mourn for them and with them.

    I will not even try to understand the minds of those who commit those heinous acts but I will not blame God for humanities rebellion against everything that is so dear to Him. What God teaches us through Jesus’ death and resurrection about love and forgiveness, I pray that we are so filled with that love that we can make a difference by showing it to others.

  25. poohpity says:

    I was reminded of 2 Cor 1:3-4 NLT

  26. s2inkzoo says:

    My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy. May the same God who suffered the ridicule, torment, and most painful torturous death walk beside these people and give them comfort, hope, and peace, even in this time of tremendous sorrow.

  27. bubbles says:

    Deb,
    I concur with your post. Well said. Thank you.

  28. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,
    I hope all is well in your lives.
    After reading a few of the comments on this blog topic, something Steve said in his blog about the parents remembering the loss of their child for the rest of their lives made me think about how all of the families who lost a loved one in this tragedy are now a family. I say that because everytime those who lost a family member think about the loss of their child, sister, brother, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc., they’re also going to remember the other children and adults who died that day. So, they’re forever linked together… That thought brought to mind the saying, “I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness.”

    Partly cloudy and cool in Texas today (60 degrees)

    Love to all…

  29. Regina says:

    *the loss of their child or adult loved one :)

  30. bec4jc says:

    I’m sorrowing over the victims and their families. It brings back feelings of my own personal griefs over my lost\past loved one’s. It’s just too overwhelming for words. What words that I can come up with I’m delivering to Abba Father in Christ Jesus’ name.

  31. SFDBWV says:

    Being outside the trauma that transpired in Newtown Connecticut I am drawn into the understanding that no one can actually be outside of this event, it has its effect on all who learn of it.

    For many it brings back the memory of past pain and past questions; for any who watch the news the voices and faces of broken hearted parents will not be forgotten and their sorrow felt deep within our own hearts.

    Answers will not matter nor bring back their children or loved ones, nor awaken them from the nightmare they have found themselves in.

    For them what was normal will never be normal again.

    Yet there is something noble and binding that arises when people come together in an attempt to stand alongside those in pain and offer what ever they can to give comfort to the grief stricken.

    To add to the sadness it is the Christmas season, yet in the story of Christmas is another horror story of the murder of all the children in Bethlehem 2 years and younger by the soldiers of Herod.

    The answer to why those children were killed and I would suppose any who attempted to stop the soldiers are clear, but lost somewhere in the retelling of the story is the grief that was felt by those left to morn. (Matthew 2: 18) (Jeremiah 31: 15)

    This world is a bad place and until Jesus returns it will continue to get worse, while there is no comfort in that I look past now for that day when there are no more stories like this again.

    Because my hope will remain in Him, Jesus of Nazareth, in spite of the world around me.

    Steve

  32. BruceC says:

    The secular world shouts out its reasons. Satan jumps for joy at what he hears; and laughs over what has happened.

    But God tells us the truth as He always does.

    2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    And so as this once great nation drifts further from the loving Creator of all things, it fulfills words spoken by Paul during the early church times.

    As I continue to pray, I too will look foward to the day of His return; knowing that He alone is the answer and that He alone can make things right and forever wipe away the tears of sorrow.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Bruce thank you so much for these verses from Timothy as they also speak directly to the past several topics as well.

    Steve

  34. kingdomkid7 says:

    Amen, bec4jc, Steve, Bruce. Amen!

  35. joep says:

    I think we can get very hypocritical in times like this (Sandy Hook), confusing our heightened emotional state for sympathy, or caring or love. Do we really care about the children that died or their grieving families? We don’t really; otherwise we’d be more diligent in researching who we put into government and how much taxes we pay and what laws will ultimately prevent this from happening again. One out of every five people in the U.S. suffers from some form of mental illness (I have a brother who is one) and they’re roaming around our streets and schools and theaters and churches and malls, waiting to blow. Sandy Hook isn’t the last mass killing. Another, like it, will happen soon. No one wants to help: taxpayers, government, church-goers, politicians, believers, non-believers, rich, poor, christians and non-christians. If we were really sincere, Columbine would have been the last mass mayhem.

  36. kingdomkid7 says:

    Your logical leaps leave me at a loss, joep. Without engaging in a critique of the many unsupported statements you have made, I will only suggest that each person can only do his or her individual part to prevent tragedies like this. In the end, even if we vote for all the right people, and we pass all the right laws — we still might not be able to control and/or stop a shooter who is bent on destroying others. What is being done to help your brother? Do you need help with him that you are not getting? Is that what leaves you believing that no one really cares?

  37. poohpity says:

    joep, it is up to the families and loved ones of those who have mental illness not to condone what is wrong by making excuses for their behavior on their mental illness. When people have these disorders and feel that medication alone will solve all their problems without behavior modification are very mistaken. There are many functioning people who have mental illness that do not believe killing is an option. People seem to have no problem when sick to go to doctors but with mental health it seems taboo to seek help from the mental health providers. It is nothing a government, politicians or any other entity to get that help for that person. We have to let go of blame and start taking responsibility as parents, sisters/brothers, cousins, teachers and friends to know them so well they can identify there is a problem to begin with and to be persistent in walking along side them to guide them to get the help they need and to stick to it.

  38. swwagner says:

    I agree with people being resonsible for their behavior no matter if they have a mental illness or not.

    I have a mental illness and it is hard not to be intimidated by the “taboo” attitude from others when I am open about my affliction. Medication makes all the difference for me and it is my responsibility to monitor myself even though it is hard and I am sometimes mis-understood. God is so good…He is the source of all well-being!

  39. poohpity says:

    swwagner, thank you for sharing and I do not believe it is taboo at all. You are so right medication does help and with it counseling serves a great purpose in being able to monitor behavior. Good for you for getting help and you are so right about the goodness of God. He teaches us to treat people the way we want to be treated.:-)

  40. bratimus says:

    Luke 21:11

    11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. “And there will be terrors” and great signs from heaven.

  41. teddybearmiller says:

    Words and tears can not express the grief and pain of losing a child or a loved one. Evil still exists in the hearts and minds of those who are filled with hatred toward others. Society has been exposed to violence for years, esp the younger generation through media, movies and video games. Hatred and intolerance lives in the hearts and minds of men/women and in turn it is passed on to the children. Humans all have the inherent traits to be good or evil, for many it is a choice. For others they are driven by mental illness and hatred. Jesus wept when He got news of Lazarus having died. But He had the power to return him to mortal life. When we lose a child/close loved one, part of us dies with them and it leaves an empty hole that can never be filled.

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