My Sweet Children,
Today was a tragic day in the history of this country. As I took in the news, I felt a baby moving in my womb, trying to get comfortable with only 6 weeks or so left before breathing her first breath in this sinful world. When my eyes moved from the TV, trying to comprehend the horror I was watching unfold, a three-year-old little boy chattered innocently to me about dinosaurs and robots running around our living room. Neither one of you have a clue, nor do you need to as of today, about the news that has sickened the hearts of every parent around the world.
Ry, as you continued to smile and play, you paused for a second at the anguish I could not mask on my face as I asked you to come give me a hug because I was feeling sad. Your hug was sweet, heart-felt, and brief, but I’ve savored it and many more just like it all day.
I don’t cherish the reality that you both will someday be faced with tragic news that will rattle your very core. I don’t know what it will be or when it will happen, but as sure as God’s Word is always true, bad things will happen in this life.
Here are a few things that I pray you will remember as your daddy and I do our best to instill them into your hearts over the years.
Find comfort in the honest answers of God’s Word.
My dad always reminded me of these verses from Ecclesiastes when I became troubled over a number of different things in my growing up years. While they don’t make me feel warm and fuzzy, they help me maintain perspective as I begin processing my grief and frustration.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
When you’re hurting, it’s easy to believe that this is the worst the world has ever been. Not so. Sin has been evil from its beginning, and the actions of a heart that has chosen to follow sin’s path have done things we can’t even comprehend, starting back at the Garden of Eden and continuing on today.
It takes time to work through all of the emotions and thoughts that come with bad news. That is okay! My prayer is that you always come up with the conclusion that blaming will never bring lasting peace.
Blaming is the easy thing to do. You will hear those around you blame people, things, illness, God, and all other manner of things. The fact is, a sinful heart is the culprit.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ~Jeremiah 17:9
Before you smugly blame others for their sinful hearts’ choices with whatever tragic circumstance is haunting you, remember that it could just as easily be any of us. None of us are above falling, and Jesus died to forgive even the most stomach-churning sin you can imagine. In fact, He also states in His Word that there is no hierarchy of sins. They all separate us from Him.
Does justice need to be sought? Absolutely, but only in a just way.
This may seem obvious to most, but let’s not forget to be thankful for people like your daddy. When traumatic and dangerous circumstances arise, there are thousands of men and women across this country who have trained carefully to prepare themselves for being on the front lines of saving the lives of others. I pray we never let the fact that we can walk into a fire station and view it as Daddy’s place of work downplay the importance of the roles of rescue workers in our community. Police officers, military, fire fighters, paramedics, nurses, and doctors walk into circumstances that can be both dangerous to them and scarring for them personally – all for the express purpose of helping others. Let’s always treat them with the respect they deserve, even when they’re accomplishing their everyday tasks.
Lastly, I urge you to look to God and His Word for comfort and answers. They may come immediately, or it may take a while for you to find the response you need to find peace in your heart. In either case, don’t stop looking there. There’s nothing wrong with leaning on other people either, but ultimately Jesus is the only one who can give you the peace that passes all understanding.
This morning before I even got out of bed, my Bible fell open to Psalm 34. While I loved the words I read, I didn’t understand why I needed to meditate on them on this quiet day at home. After hearing the news this afternoon, my troubled heart remembered what I’d read, and I stood in wonder at how specifically God speaks to our needs, often times before we even realize what He is doing.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
My heart is still heavy over the day’s events, but know that even as I’m working through the list I just presented above for myself, I’m praying that you take it to heart in your own life when you’re old enough to have to deal with news that will sadden you. I love you with all of my heart, and today as well as every other day, I pray that you each choose Jesus as the answer to all of your problems. He will never, ever leave you or forsake you. So please do your best to “Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
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