What happened at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday was a tragedy. Parents of a 5-year-old should never have to kiss their child goodbye for the last time. As a father, my heart and prayers go out to those who woke up grieving a lost child this morning.
Whenever violence of this nature occurs we always want to know why. Why does someone take innocent lives? Why would anyone want to hurt children? Why? There are some reasons that we will not understand, like Adam Lanza’s motivation.
There are other reasons that can be understood. The deepest reason is that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9a). Left to ourselves we are wicked to the core. Our hearts are not pure, they’re evil. We know that to be true, but we don’t like to face it. This doesn’t mean that we all want to be violent, but we all have desires in our heart that are wrong. Tragically, Adam Lanza had violent desires in his heart, and he followed his heart.
On the other hand, this did NOT happen because:
- God is not sovereign or good: It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but God did allow this to happen. He is completely sovereign, so this did not surprise Him. This does not mean, however, that He caused it or was glad it happened. He is still good. Evil grieves Him, and it will not last forever. There will be a day that He eradicates all evil forever. David was anointed King of Israel approximately 30 years before he assumed the throne. Jesus is the true and better David. He clearly proved Himself to be King of kings through His death, burial, and resurrection. When we see events like yesterday’s, we simply have to believe that Jesus has not assumed His throne in fullness yet.
- The mental health system failed him: Lanza probably was mentally ill. But mental healthcare, even at its best, cannot fix evil. Mental illness doesn’t cause someone to kill innocent people, evil does.
- Prayer was taken out of the schools: God doesn’t have elementary age children killed (or even passively stop protecting them) to wake our nation up from a court decision in the 1960’s.
Typically verses like Proverbs 11:21, “Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished” don’t offer a lot of comfort. Usually we like to focus more on God’s love than on His justice. Yes, I am glad that God loves me. There is no better news than that. But after days like yesterday, I’m also glad that God is angry at sin and evil. It’s good news that He is just and does not let evil go unpunished.
I obviously don’t have all the answers. But I do know that God is good, God is in control, we don’t always understand why things happen, evil will not last forever, and hope can only be found by putting your trust in Jesus. Even though we don’t have all the answers, He does.