Connecticut Shooting & How God Identifies with Suffering

My heart is broken for the kids and adults who were killed this morning in the Conneticut shooting. My heart aches for those parents, teachers, children and families. They said on the news that this is the worst school shooting in American history.

As I watched the news this morning, my heart cried out to the Lord– praying for those involved, and also wondering why God allowed this to happen. How could this happen? 

Then I recalled who the LORD is. He did not turn His back when the shooter went in this morning. He did not forget about His children. He did not forsake them.

But then, why does God allow suffering in this world? I may never fully understand the why. But I know that it’s not because God doesn’t care. Timothy Keller, a pastor in New York, explained it beautifully in a message he gave after 9-11.

“One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in – suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.

But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.

And this is key:

It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.

And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection. In Daniel 12:2-3 we read: Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake….[They]… will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and…like the stars for ever and ever. And in John 11 we hear Jesus say: I am the resurrection and the life! Now this is what the claim is: That God is not preparing for us merely some ethereal, abstract spiritual existence that is just a kind of compensation for the life we lost. Resurrection means the restoration to us of the life we lost. New heavens and new earth means this body, this world! Our bodies, our homes, our loved ones—restored, returned, perfected and beautified! Given back to us!”

 

Papa,

We uplift everyone involved with the Connecticut shooting today to You. We don’t understand why it happened Lord, but we know that You are involved. You are there. You are in the midst and You understand. Thank you that You are not a God who is high on His throne and looks away when evil happens, but rather You are a God who is high on His throne and who came down to earth to suffer and die for us- for sin- for our sin- and who rose again. You are a God who intimately knows our suffering, who suffered more than we will ever know. And rose again, offering HOPE and life for us.

Lord we pray for the kids who were there today- who saw the shooting, had friends killed, heard the gun shots. God please hold their hearts. Please comfort them. Lord, I pray for the teachers and adults- please show them Yourself. Show them that you love them, You’re in their midst, You are a Refuge and in Your presence there is no fear. Lord please give the police wisdom of how to handle the case– to bring justice, to do what’s right. Lord may You be glorified in this situation. Please bring people to You–restore, comfort, save, hold, uplift, and be ever present now.

And Lord, we look forward to the day when You’ll return– when we’ll be with You forever, and there will be no more tears or suffering. But in the meantime, thank you that You are a God who is here, who understands, who enters into the mess. We love you Lord. Amen.
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UPDATE: My husband, Jeff, created a candle company that supports various non-profits & causes. He felt burdened for those in CT and so they put together a special “Pray for CT” candle (the image below is the graphic on the candles) where they will give 100% of all profits to help the victims & families. Please take a look, support, and most of all PRAY. Click here to view their website.

CT_glass

(excerpt taken from: Timothy Keller – 9/11 Remembrance Message)

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49 comments

  1. Amen!

  2. Very well said, Alyssa. Thank you for taking the time to post this! The families are in my prayers.

  3. Amen! Thank you for posting this.

  4. Amen! Lord give comfort to all the parents who lost an angel today!

  5. Thank you for this. It’s times like these that we want to know why we’re abandoned by Him.. we aren’t. My son died when he was born & I went through that.. but I was brought to Him eventually.. but I can understand that these families will be screaming to the Heavens asking why.

    What a wonderful post.

  6. My heart and prayers go out to the families!..

  7. This is powerful, Alyssa, thank you.

  8. Thank you for this, Alyssa. Truly is beautiful written as Jefferson said. <3

    We must keep having faith. As darkness looms & anger builds, we must not let hate win. Keep your soul pure & offer love instead. Do not be blinded by the evil that is trying to shield us all from God's love. We must open our eyes & hold onto hope. It is the only way we can survive the pain. It is the only way love can win. 381 xo ♥

  9. This is so heart felt and puts a lot in perspective ! Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Wonderfully put! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the truth!!!

  11. Bless you, Alyssa. Thank you for allowing me to “share” on Facebook.

  12. Amen…thank you Lord for hearing every prayer and bringing healing.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing. It validates our grief; and it gives us comfort and hope in our Lord.

  14. Such a great prayer! Thank you! It is always hard to explain to someone who uses situations like this to say God “allows bad things happen to good people”… when he is the one holding them amist it all.

  15. its so sad, and i feel so much hurt for the families, to little ones. Can only pray that God just brings these families together and gives them strength

  16. Thanks for sharing, the Lord is indeed good. The families are in my prayers.

  17. Comforting post. Thanks so much for the thought and prayerful reflection. It has helped me this day.

    I’d love for you to consider taking the picture of those two children off the post. I think it would be appropriate.

  18. Beautifully written Alyssa!

  19. In my brokenheartedness, thank you for reminding me of all He is!! I needed it!!

  20. Thanks for sharing Alyssa! It’s really beautiful, reminds me of this quote:
    “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” – Anonymous

  21. I needed this. Thank you for your insightfulness and letting God speak through you. Amen!

  22. I just can’t believe this happened, this is so awful. Your words are kind and in moments like these, we need you! I thank you.

  23. Amen!!! Thank You Alyssa.That reall touched my heart and I do agree with you.I`m sorry for the vitims and their families.

  24. Very beautifully said. People all over my Facebook wall have questioned why God allows tragedies such as CT to happen. Nobody has answered quite as beautifully as you just did. I pray that these families affected do not lose their faith in God but that He embraces them with His love as always. God Bless all those involved in this tragedy and the beautiful angels who were taken from this world too soon.

  25. Lord Jesus, You are the Word ( Logos, Spokesman )
    Speak for us today your comforting words and wisdom.
    We pray to you and you send our messages to our Father in Heaven. Let each and everyone’s prayers be heard and answered in Jesus Name.

    1. God is Love and we are His Instruments in Showing and Sharing that Agape Love !

  26. Alyssa, this was very well-written. Thank you for yours, Keller’s, and Stott’s uplifting words. I just finished a class were we read Timothy Keller’s The Reason For God, and I took a class in the past with one of Stott’s books, too. I’m so glad you could pull from these two wonderful references. I thank God every day for hearts like yours who choose to teach and not judge.

  27. Alyssa, thank you so much for your post. It’s so easy to feel like there is nothing we can do for those who are suffering, but we can always remember to pray for them!

  28. Having been involved in a ministry that helps folks heal their hearts and move on, I am sometimes ostrasized for not “doing more” (outright evangelism, etc.). Yet after today I see the need for healthy people, healthy souls…and living, loving…free.

  29. I lost my son when he was a baby. It is at that time I realized that God was really all I had. My husband and son were not enough. It also made me realize, just a little, the pain God went through when He gave up His Son for me. Praying and suffering for those parents who have to now walk down that road. Also praying for the shooters family.

  30. I believe that Billy Graham’s daughter states perfectly why God has allowed bad things to happen, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

  31. Amen! Thank you for that!

  32. Wonderful post Alyssa. It was inspiring to see the Churches open their doors for prayers and more inspiring to see how many came in.

  33. Maybe if God was still allowed in school, this may not have happened

  34. What you’ve said is absolutely beautiful and extremely profound. Yet, so many who are religious want to cut the support systems we have in place to help the working poor and and ill. We even deny health care to the working poor and try to kill Obamacare. What are your thoughts on how we treat our poor? Thanks.

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  36. EXCELLENT post Alyssa! Spot on! Blessings!

    1. thanks so much sebastian! hope it was an encouragement!

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