How are you responding to the news that a lone gunman. who dropped out of medical school, just savagely murdered 12 young people and wounded 38 in a Colorado opening of a batman movie? Those are the stats right now when I’m writing; probably worse by the time you read this.
When I asked one uninformed friend how she was feeling, she commented, “Oh, I didn’t know. That’s why people don’t watch the news any more. It’s too terrible.” Another friend lives an hour away from the theater but can’t turn on the news because they have guests in the house with two children in elementary school, and their guests don’t allow their kids to be exposed to news broadcasts. These kids are already extremely fearful. My friend texted me, asking if I could provide a “secret” online source. Of course, we want to be age-appropriate in what kids see, but these kids will hear about this from their friends. And when they do, they may want to process it with mom and dad, but they may not, since mom and dad don’t seem able to deal with the real world.
I get it. Part of me wants to burrow down, pull the covers over my head, and not get out of bed too. I was raised by people who “sheltered” me from everything, insisting that I wasn’t old enough or mature enough to “handle it.” But I heard bits here and there, and my imagination ran wild. The scene I conjured up in my head was always worse than the real thing. I grew up terrified of everything, and only because Jesus rescued me have I learned to function in a fallen, and sometimes harsh, world. Sure, I still get scared sometimes. But Jesus whispers, “Fear not. I am here. I will help you.” and He has.
And an important part of being an ambassador for Christ , and certainly a vital part of parenting, is not to shelter those we love, but to help them see reality through biblical eyes, nurtured by a tender relationship with our dear Jesus. Wise Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2-4, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Chew on that for awhile.
Bottom line. Twenty-seven mass murderers have struck since Columbine. We will undoubtedly see more. We grieve and ponder and ask God, “Why?” It’s heart-wrenching. But it propels me to call my kids, and hold my grandchildren a bit closer. It propels me to declare to my neighbor that Jesus can provide them with a peace that passes all understanding. It sobers me to spend my days making a real difference in this insane world, and to look with great anticipation at the new one Jesus will bring. I want to reach out with comfort and good news. Let the world know there are more of us than them. Don’t check out. Reach out. This world needs you, and so do I. Let’s wrap our arms around the wounded and raise up generations of people who will do the same, equipped for the realities of this world and forging ahead in it anyway.