by Paula Harrington
I was 16 when I sat in a parking lot with my grandfather and listened to the White Lion song, “When the Children Cry.” He was a well-known minister and I was a wild, rebellious teen trying to find a connection with him and also trying to make some sense of my life.
My father, who had also been a minister, had passed away from ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease] several years earlier and my mother was in a constant battle with depression and alcoholism. Life didn’t make much sense.
Eight years later, I sat with a friend whose six year-old daughter lay on the bed beside us. Hospice was there, as well.
A few minutes after that sweet baby finally won her battle with cancer; I walked out into our apartment complex and heard the cries of several area children mourning their friend. Again, that song came to mind and again, I prayed for life to make some kind of sense.
A few days ago, that same 80’s rock ballad played in my head as I sat at my computer in a little elementary school and wept quiet tears over the loss of life in that Connecticut school.
It was horrible. It was evil and regardless of the details that emerge, it will never make sense.
It took many years but I finally realized that I’m not going to understand this life. How can you understand a place you don’t belong?
It hurts. It’s confusing and devastating. It will take your breath and bring you to your knees. That’s the way it’s always been and as long as we’re here, that’s the way it will always be.
There is an after-school Bible club that isn’t sponsored by our school but held there each week. One day I sat and listened to a grandfatherly preacher tell 50+ kids that if Jesus came to our town he would stop off at the school first.
He would sit down with them and tell them how much he loves them and how special they are. They listened intently at those words and I couldn’t hold back the tears at his truer than life words. Those children are precious and some of their stories of abuse and neglect are so heartbreaking they keep me awake at night but I’m certain that:
- As much as I love those kids, Jesus loves them more.
- As much as their parents love them, Jesus loves them more.
- As much as their grandparents love them, Jesus loves them more.
So don’t think that just because evil strikes that we are alone. Don’t post on Facebook that this is the fault of our government because they have removed God from our schools because they haven’t. They can’t. He is there. I’ve seen him.
Don’t chalk this up to the fact that the Ten Commandments and prayer have been removed giving a foothold to Satan. There are Christians working in these buildings and when you have Christians in the classrooms, you will always have Bibles in the schools.
This world belongs to evil so don’t be surprised when it has its day. However, take comfort knowing that its days are numbered. Please don’t let acts of violence keep you in fear, but overcome them with good (Romans 12:21). Remember, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Yes, our nation is great but our God is greater. Our hope isn’t in the United States nor is it in better or worse gun laws. Our hope is in the Christ.
When the world asks where our God was in this horrible situation, tell them that our God, our Deliverer, was there holding those kids, telling them how much he loves them and how special they are. And be assured that our Heavenly Father is always there when his children cry.