“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. “ Jeremiah 31:15
The news of the senseless tragedy in Newtown, CT yesterday has swept the nation and called forth tidal waves of prayers for the families of the children and adults who were killed.
The news spread quickly on traditional news media but especially on Facebook an other social media sites. I have been deeply touched by the immense love and support which has poured forth from every quarter.
When I first heard the news Friday morning, I was in a business meeting and was not really able to digest the whole situation. Only a few uncertain details were being shared on TV news.
But by the middle of the afternoon when I was able to get a bit more information, I was in tears. Someone shared the above quote as restated in Matthew 2:18 and I totally lost it. Many Rachels were weeping for their children. My heart went out to all the parents and family members. I sobbed uncontrollably.
I must tell you that Newtown is just one town away from my own. I know of at least one kid in that school. Friends of ours are the next door neighbors to the woman shot in her home.
When tragedy strikes so close to home, so close to those you know, it is impossible to hide behind any facade of indifference or stoicism.
I cried for each of those parents who lost a child. I cried for each family that lost a mother or a father. I cried because they were my children, my parents, my sisters and brothers. They were each of us.
And I cried for the gunman. He was my “brother,” part of my larger family of the human race. Yes, I cried for the gunman and yearned that he could have been delivered from this madness before it was too late.
How does the healing process begin?
The most touching post on Facebook that helped me more than anything was a picture of Jesus with his eyes closed in earnest love and compassion, tenderly holding a little child in his arms. The caption read, “Jesus is holding the little children today. Many of them are kindergarteners.” This picture, which I have copied above, is from the “Trust in the Lord” Facebook page, .
It was and IS Jesus’ nature to bless little children. Can you believe that even his disciples at times tried to keep them away from him at times? But he loved them deeply and said,
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14
Christ is blessing these dear children from Newtown and holding them nearer to him than we can imagine. He cherishes each one.
I cannot see it with my eyes. But I can feel it in my heart. Somehow, this begins to comfort me.
The tragedy has not suddenly disappeared. Hearts are broken. Lives are shattered. Hopes and dreams have been mercilessly blotted out. But this picture of Jesus holding and comforting a child plants a tiny seed of hope in me.
It is easy to point the finger of blame at who and what have caused such a travesty. The Media has already begun to dissect the story ad nauseam and will continue to do so.
But what is our Biblical model in a case like this?
We pray. We pray for everyone involved. We pray for forgiveness. We pray it will never happen again. We pray, pray, pray, and do what we can to show our love and support of those who need it.
And I firmly believe it is our spiritual duty to confess and repent for the sins of others in a case like this. Abigail did this when her Nabal her husband treated David rudely. She said to David, “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be.” (I Samuel 25:24) She was innocent but accepted the blame for her husband’s sin.
When Nehemiah heard of the sad state of affairs in Jerusalem, he confessed the sins of all the children of Israel, not just his own. See Nehemiah 1:6,7
Daniel took this same approach during exile in Babylon. See Daniel 9:4,5,20. I suggest you read the whole chapter, but those verses share his prayer of confession for his sins as well as those of all the Israelites. Interestingly enough, it is during this prayer of confession and repentance that the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and comforts and strengthens him.
Could it be that as we have the humility to confess and repent for the sins of the perpetrator of this (or any) horrendous crime, that we will be visited by Gabriel himself, who will strengthen, comfort and encourage us?
Please join me in this prayer of confession and repentance for our own sins as well as the sins of others. This brings immense healing to us individually as well as to our communities, to our nation and even the world.
In closing, let me simply say, Let us cherish our children. Hold them. Tell them you love them. Pray for them. Enfold them in the robes of Christ. Call forth angels to protect them.
I would love to hear how you have prayed about this situation. Please share your comments below.
Blessings in Christ,