I have waited. I wanted to sit down and write as soon as I saw the first news notification about the tragic events last Friday. I wanted to yell, scream and accuse. I wanted to blame and I wanted to defend certain existing beliefs. I have read, I have shared articles and writings that I have felt were important, and I had one small rant about the media's irresponsible reporting around the fact the shooter "may have autism" while on Facebook. However, I waited to have my full release in my writing until the dust had somewhat settled. We have made it through the weekend and have started a new week and now I am able to release a little bit about my thoughts without running off of pure emotion and irrational justifications that accuse and cause division rather than love and heal. It is time for me to share, so thank you for listening.
There are many public debates now starting to take place about lots of subjects. There are the intense arguments about gun control. There are conversations about the mental health system in our country. There is a clarification about what Autism and Asperger’s really is from a behavior and neurological perspective. There is a discussion about media's role in glorification of horror and tragedy. There is an opportunity if we are able to step away from the anger and hate of this situation to grow as a society on these subjects. There is an opportunity to turn tragedy into a better world. These deaths do not have to be in vain if we are able to work toward a better world than the one we currently live in because of this tragedy. The one issue however, I want to most address is the amount of statements being made implying that God was not in Sandy Hook Elementary because we do not allow prayer in school. I have seen cartoons and comments about "Where was God?" and the response is we have taken Him out of schools....implying He was not there as evil destroyed innocence. This is WRONG!!
I assert that God was not absent from Sandy Hook at all but was FULLY present. He was in the arms of teachers holding their students in a closet. He was in the actions of school personnel who sacrificed their lives in trying to stop the gunman. He was in the legs of a teacher who moved to shield her students. He was in the words "I Love you" from teachers to their students so the last things their kids heard were not gun shots and the sound of suffering. He was with every police officer and first responder who rushed into the building at risk of his or her own life. He heard every prayer. He knew every thought. He felt every bit of pain. Finally, he was there to meet every victim as they left this world of flesh and blood and entered into a world of spirit and eternity. It is ignorant to imply God was not there. It is wrong to imply you can even keep God out. I understand what these people are trying to say but you lessen my God when you think PEOPLE can keep him away with their laws. You minimize an all-powerful God when you think a government can keep him out. You put a false focus on what God's expectation is for us when you imply He was not there the day evil was unleashed on Sandy Hook Elementary. HE was there, He is still there, and I praise Him for it.
I do not intend for this to preach. If you do not claim to be a Christian I hope you can still find meaning in what I am going to say next. Many associate 1 Corinthians 13 with weddings. This however is some what out of context. Paul was writing to the Corinthians about what it meant to be a part of the church. What it meant to be a part of the body of Christ as the church is referred to throughout his writings. He was writing them because they were divided. The Corinthians where arguing about some who claimed to be a follower of Paul and others who said they were followers of Apollos and others followers of Cephas. Sounds like American Christians battling over whether they are republican or democrat or libertarian. What Paul ultimately says is Christ cannot be divided. That the issues they were arguing over ultimately were trumped with Love. Here is 1 Corinthians 13:
The Excellence of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (New American Standard)
God was in Newtown , CT because LOVE was there. He still is there. He will remain as long as LOVE remains. The Greeks had three words for love and the type discussed here is agape. Agape is unselfish love. The kind that characterizes a loving God who would send his son to die for my sins though completely undeserved. The kind of love that would shield a child from bullets. This love was present in Sandy Hook Elementary. God’s love showed He was there that day...through the actions of others. Through the purity and innocence of children, it was felt by all of us. Government cannot keep God out of schools or anywhere else, only individuals can. Individuals who fight for their "rights" while ignoring the suffering of others. Individuals who put their wants above the needs of others. Individuals who glorify politicians more than God. Government will always fail you...God never will.
On Monday as I dropped Tyler off to school he and I said a quick prayer before his aide swept him from the van. We prayed for his protection, the protection of his peers, and all the employees. I had never done that before I must admit. Tears filled my eyes as I left him walking into the school smiling at his favorite aide...waiving at kids getting off a bus. I sent him into school with God.... no one could keep Him out. The teachers and aids in his school love him so much and unconditionally. God is in that school. There may not be prayer taught there, but there is Love. You see up until that point I had never prayed with Tyler prior to school nor prayed for those who he spends his day with. Government had not kept God out of his school...I had not put God into his school until that day. I pray I never forget to put Him in there again. You see, government doesn't keep God out of school...individuals do. I do. When I fail to pray. When I do not stop bullying if I see it. When I allow a joke that discriminates. When I do not give to a helping organization because I need the newest Apple product. When I fail to Love. May I constantly be reminded to love....not those who are easy to love....but those who need agape. Unconditional Love. Thanks for letting me have my release.