This morning as I prayed for the families in Newtown, Connecticut who will be burying their children this week, I also found myself praying for all of the children who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. Last night, my nine-year-old daughter told me about the new security procedures that have been installed in her school and how scared she was to go to school. That concept seems so foreign to me— scared to go to school. It dawned on my last night that my daughter’s innocence has been partly stolen. Last week, her biggest concern at school was how she would do on a math test, this week it’s how to react if her school falls under attack. She, like every other kid in America has been forced to come face-to-face with evil far earlier than my generation.
In all honesty, I am not sure how we are supposed to talk to nine year olds about this tragedy but the one thing I am sure of is that we must ground our discussion in the gospel.
The gospel is good news because it takes seriously the problem of evil in our world. I wish that we lived in a Disney-like world where everything always turns out good, but the truth of the matter is that evil really does exist. The worst part of evil is that it resides deep within the human heart. All we have to do is open our Bible and we will see that murder entered into the world immediately after the fall (Genesis 3-4). The devaluing of human life is not something recent; it as old as the fall and the only remedy is a fundamental change in our nature. We cannot legislate away the evil that brought about Sandyhook or any of the other senseless tragedies that have become so common. The answer to Sandyhook and every other evil in the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The other day, I heard someone say they could not believe there was a God because surely he would have intervened in that elementary school. This is a common thing to hear whenever something tragic happens, but it ignores the fact that God has taken decisive action to remedy the problem of evil in the world. As I said above, the problem of evil is really a symptom of a deeper problem— the problem of sin. In the Bible sin is more than just an action, sin describes the nature of our heart. Nothing we can do can ever remedy the problem of sin, so God took decisive action sending His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross and to give us new life through His resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God does not stand idly by and watch the evil in the world; He entered into our plight and paid the price for our sin, so that we can be reconciled to Him and to each other. This is our hope! This is our only hope!
I wish I could tell me daughter she is safe and that nothing bad will ever happen to her but the truth is that we live in a world stained and sacred by the evil of sin. Therefore, I will point her to the only source of hope in the universe— Jesus Christ. No matter what happens to us in this world, if we know Jesus, we have hope!