Yesterday’s headline read, “27 Dead, Including 20 Children, In Elementary School Shooting” in Newton, Connecticut. Parents, children, brothers and sisters won’t be with their families this Christmas. Like most parents, my heart was broken for those parents and pray for the families of the dead. I longed to give my own daughter a hug along with my grandchildren. Such evil and meaningless tragic loss of life has no immediate logical answers. Yet when such a tragedy strikes, many suddenly “get” religion. Their worldview doesn’t provide the answers to the questions of their hearts or they simply close their eyes to what their worldview actually says about death. So when something horrible happens, suddenly God is alive and real…and in some people’s minds, to blame for allowing such tragedy. Yet is this really God’s fault? Is it really His will that young innocent 1st graders are terrorized and killed by a crazed gunman? If you know anything about the God Who created us you know answer to those questions is, “OF COURSE NOT”!
The Bible says God never created us for death. Death was never part of his plan. We were always meant to live. God created us to live in a perfect world, where we had a perfect relationship with Him. Because we were in a perfect relationship with God, we were at peace with one another. There was never any violence like we see today. God never designed us to suffer and die. Rather we were meat to live forever in a perfect world.
Yet as we all know all too well, this world isn’t perfect, not anymore. You see our first parents thought they could improve on God’s creation. They were tempted by God’s enemy into believing that they’d be better off if they were in control of their own lives. So they rebelled against God and His ways. Suddenly their relationship with God was broken, and just as quickly their relationships with each other fell apart as well.
Now sin, suffering, wars, famine, disease, aging, and death hold the world captive. People even kill each other now. Yet this wasn’t part of God’s plan and God didn’t want to leave us this way. God continued to pursue His children. He continued to call them back to live a life close to Him, in His ways, under His rule and protection. Yet His children kept rebelling. Finally, God sent his Son who was called Jesus, which means “The Lord Saves”, and Immanuel, which means “God with Us.” He lived perfectly as His Father always created us to live. Yet he died the death we deserved on the cross. As we believe and are baptized in Him, His perfect life becomes our perfect life. Our relationship with God is restored. His death then becomes our death, so death will not hold us because death could not hold Jesus.
One day, there will be no more death. The peace that the angels sang about on the night of Jesus’ birth will be realized. God’s enemy, and all who chose to follow in his ways and refuse to be cleansed, will be locked away forever. The world will be perfect again. God will raise all those who trust in Him, will give us new life, and never again will there be any anger, fighting, wars, sickness, pain, or death. Such things won’t even be remembered. Even days like this will be forgotten. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will live in joy, true joy, in a perfect world forever more.
This past week something horrible happened. Yet if someone asks me why such tragedy happens, I’ll share with them the truth of God’s story. We still mourn today, we pray fervently for the families of those who were killed, because we’re still awaiting the Restoration of things. Yet we have hope because one day God will make everything right. We sing, “Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” We pray come quickly, Lord Jesus! And we look to the day when He comes again to make everything right and invade our darkness with His glorious light.