When loved ones leave fast at the hands of evil, there is still hope.
Unspeakable grief. That’s what remains. I saw her face, the mother running to school, in bold black and white on the newspaper page. Her name, I don’t know—but my heart beats hard and is ripped open and bleeds anguished tears for her and for so many more. These could have been my children—my family—my friends.
Oh God! Why? So many questions in the aftermath.
Years ago, I would have asked why. No more. I know why now. Our world, though still beautiful, is sick with sin—with evil unspeakable. A woman in a religious community once said, “I don’t believe in hell.”
Where does such terror and violence and evil come from then? I believe in hell. I’ve seen it and felt it here on earth. And Jesus spoke of hell as a real place with a real ruler and a real army of evil. He spoke of Satan and demons and hell fire. He looked Satan in the face and rebuked him.
But we, such beautiful people, don’t like to think of such things. And if we simply don’t think of such things, they’ll just simply go away, right? Up in smoke, those uncomfortable, not pretty thoughts will just float away, right?
Until something like this happens and a small community rattles an entire nation and flags in school yards across the land are at half-mast and people feel the scare in the deepest parts of themselves. It could have been my child, my family, my friends—right before Christmas? We’re supposed to be getting ready for Christ and peace on earth, goodwill towards men!
There will be unopened presents this Christmas and ripped open hearts. And some will not be home for Christmas, ever. Little girls and boys going to school and making Christmas art anticipating the biggest holiday of the year—drowned in a blood bath.
Their spirits have gone up in smoke while we stay grounded on earth with grief and terror and questions. And we hunger for comfort and hope.
Where does one go for comfort and hope in a time such as this?
I cannot speak for others. I will speak for myself.
My comfort and hope come from God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. My comfort and hope come from Almighty God who is making all things new even now, though we cry and we hurt and we wonder why.
Sometimes infections are so deep that healing only comes with lancing and rooting out the rot. Sometimes God allows the hand of evil to work greater good through sacrifice.
I am a woman acquainted with grief. And death. Suicide and murder. Even so, I would not dare to speak for others in their raw pain now. Each soul deserves their holy space with no interference from those who say I know just how you feel. Because we don’t. We can’t know just how they feel. We get close to what they feel when we walk in their shoes. But even shoe sizes vary.
All I can do is pray and say what I’ve learned.
Through unspeakable loss and heart-wrenching pain, I’ve learned to let go of my demand for reality change. Reality is this—we live in a broken world. Our world is infected deep with sin—with evil. Our first father and mother turned from God and His goodness and decided to go their own way. The result is everything awful today that cuts us quick, drains our life, makes us howl from the horror of it all.
And yet, I’ve learned that God is absolutely in control and that God is absolutely good.
But how can a good God in control allow such horror, such terror, such evil?
Because this is not the end and we never, ever see the whole reality picture. The whole picture of reality can only be seen through the eyes of faith. The whole of reality can only be felt in the presence of God who holds everything together in His holy hands even when it seems and feels like all is falling apart.
Is this the time to say these words to the horribly grieving?
This is the time for arms and shoulders that embrace and absorb grief tears. This is the time for being brave enough to sit with unspeakable loss at the hands of unspeakable evil and quietly speak the powerful name of Jesus.
God heals our wounds with His own murder wounds— He has seen His children murdered by evil from the beginning of time, starting with Abel whose blood was spilled by his brother. And God watched—and did nothing—while His son was murdered by evil right before His holy eyes.
He did EVERYTHING by not stopping evil at that moment! He proved He has the power to overcome the greatest effect of sin and evil on this earth. He resurrected death and brought it back to life and put the period on the sentence. Because of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, life need not end in death any more. Death brings life now. The established order of sin has been broken and life is the period on the sentence of death for those who believe.
Life is given. Death takes away. Life is given again. Period. Such is the cycle now. Death now must serve life by leading us into the presence of the One who gives it in the beginning and gives it again in the end. All death—physical, emotional, relational, spiritual—has brought me into the presence of the One who holds life forever and gives it freely to all who ask.
This. This is why Christ came at Christmas. He came as a baby, was murdered on a tree, was raised from the dead, and is coming again. The holy triune God began the death reversal in a manger. He came to die—and was raised to reverse death and all its effects. He lives to raise the dead.
These little ones went up in smoke, and wafted away from this broken world into the hands of the loving God who holds every tear on earth and wipes them away, in due time, and brings new life from death for those who choose to heal in Him and not fester with sin.
Watch and wait and see that our LORD is good. Watch and wait and see what the Almighty God of life does with this tragedy. Right now, we ache with the aching. Rightfully so. Butthis aching will not be the period on this sentence. Our God’s word reigns and He will bring beauty from ashes. He promised. And He always keeps His promises.
We can have peace in an imperfect world—even while we cry—even while we wait for all things to be made new.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John11:25
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21: 1, 3-5