Inspired by The Full Armor Band’s song “What I Pray About”
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”
I want to take you back in time. The day is December 14, 2012. This morning while you and I were brushing our teeth and getting ready to face a new day, a young man named Adam Lanza was preparing to face his last day. For still unknown reasons, Lanza shot and killed his own mother and then left his family home dressed in black, wearing a bullet-proof vest, and armed with three weapons. Lanza then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and did the unimaginable. He killed twenty innocent and defenseless children and six adults, including the school’s principal. The shooting at Sandy Hook is now on record as the second deadliest shooting of any kind in US history.
It is hard to make sense of a tragedy like this. Even as more details unfold, this information will do little to lessen the pain that so many families are experiencing today and will continue to feel for a lifetime. Most of us, are left with the question of why would this happen? Why would a loving God allow these innocent children to die? From a human prospective we don’t know why. That’s the short and simple truth. We may never know why. The Bible does say that sin entered the world in the beginning, first in the heart of man. So since that time, sin has made its way into the world through the hearts of men and women all over. It is on days like Friday, December 14th, 2012, that that truth becomes more apparent than ever.
But that is not the last word on the battle of good and evil in this world. The Bible goes on to say the following: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” -Romans 5:3-5 NLT
Our community, our country, and our world need hope that does not disappoint. We need a hope that is confident and secure in this time of insecurity and brokenness. God, our father gave His only Son to the world for the purpose of salvation to disperse that hope. He is our blessed assurance that there is still good in this world. In times like this, we have to cling to the hope that we have; we have to rely on it. We have to remind ourselves that God deeply loves us and more importantly, He loved those people involved in the shootings more than you and I even have the capacity to understand. He is God. He is hope, peace, love, joy, and all of other pillars of strength we need in this time and times like this. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Turn your heart to the One who will not disappoint or forsake you. Although God is not the author of this heinous tragedy, He is certainly the one with the power to turn this situation around for good.
Dealing with a tragedy such as this or any tragedy, we need to remember to look at things from an eternal prospective. We need to remember this life on earth is not all there is. There is an afterlife where earthy wrongs are righted. There is a final judgment for this man and others like him that commits these heinous crimes, and they will have to face God. There is also great safety for those beautiful children, who I believe are all in Heaven right now, resting in the arms of Jesus. No harm will come to them again. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). And there is comfort available to their parents, who are in the deepest valley of pain and grief right now. Yes, even at a time like this, there is hope. The hope is this: If that parent will put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord they can have the assurance they will see their dear children again.
As believers in the midst of a trial or tragedy we can still make a difference. We can and should always take time to pray. Pray for those who suffered unimaginable loss. Pray for the survivors and for the first-responders who walked in to the school to deal with the aftermath of the shooting. Pray for our nation, for our world, for our future. Pray for comfort and peace and the ability to get through whatever this world may bring our way. Weep. The Bible asks believers to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). This is a national tragedy that has both stirred the outrage and concern of each of us. Weeping with those who weep is a way for us to identify with and to express our concern for those who have suffered loss. Care. Tragedies have a way of helping us show more love and care to the people closest to us. Take extra time to go out of your way to care for others close to you. Show your care and concern to the families affected by this horrible tragedy. Acknowledge. It is at times like these that we are forced to acknowledge anew the value of human life. Acknowledge that this world is evil and tragedies like this are a result of man’s sinful nature. Remember. Remember the event, remember the details, remember the pain, the feelings and emotions, but also remember that tragedies like the shooting at Sandy Hook should prompt Christ-followers to remember that we have a sympathetic Savior who understands hostility because He experienced it at the hands of those who crucified Him. Trust. At times like this we should also trust in the promises and assurances that we find in God’s Word. According to verses like Psalm 34:18, we are assured that He “is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” And although we cannot possibly imagine how, we should still trust that God will work to accomplish His purposes through this tragedy. Finally, have assurance, that even though, sin and evil prevails in this world, Jesus overcame the power of sin and death once and for all through His death and resurrection. There is forgiveness, healing and new life through Him.
When faced with trials and tribulations, I hope we all will take time to count our blessings. To let those most important to us know that we love them and not take them for granted. And I hope that we will remember that Jesus is always there. He will bring His comfort to us as we trust in Him.
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Full Armor Band is five-piece band contemporary Christian folk group from Middletown, NY. “What I Pray For” can be found on their new CD titled “None The Same”, which can be found on the band’s official website www.fullarmorband.com, iTunes and Amazon.,” For more information about The Full Armor Band you can visit their website at www.fullarmorband.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/fullarmorband
Want to read other devotionals written by Tim? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindreds-devotional-series/463516160364310