Death, Murder, Hope

The following article was originally posted at Here I Blog under the same title ‘Death, Murder, Hope‘.

Death

Death is one of the few parts of life that is unavoidable. Death comes in various ways from natural to accidental to sometimes murderous. All death is sad, especially, to those close to the deceased. Yet, it is normally less difficult to mourn a natural death than an accidental or, especially, a murderous one.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was neither natural nor accidental – it was murder. Pure evil.
It is time to pray for all of those affected by the murder of the six adults and 20 children. Pray for the family, friends, and acquaintances. Pray that they mourn well and heal and find hope and restoration. But especially pray that they have time to mourn and grieve. Let’s grieve with the family and friends as we pray for them.

Murder

Twenty children?!

I could not believe that 20 children were murdered Friday morning. Death is bad enough when innocent lives are taken, but there is something even more tragic when someone takes the lives of innocent children. Those children, age’s five to ten, had barely begun their lives.

There is no way to make sense of these murders other than the fact that we live in a fallen and sinful world. Search any heart honestly enough and it is not hard to find the evil that anyone of us can conjure in our minds. Thankfully, most of us do not have the desire to act out the evil our minds can create.

Nevertheless, a fallen and sinful world does not help make sense of what happened at Sandy Hook. Sin does not give comforting answers to those grieving their loss; it cannot. A fallen world did not help me make sense of my miscarried baby which was a natural death.

Sure, the world is fallen and we sin, but that is not a comforting answer. What parent is going to say, “The world is fallen and sinful? OK. Here is my child.”

Hope

I only know of one Father who willingly gave His Son up to a fallen and sinful world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

That Son said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV).

Jesus is our hope; may we cling to Him as we mourn these lost lives.

Comments

    • Dave Miller says

      It is a good reflection, Mark. But it does not change the fact that I have to go out and shovel snow.

      • says

        Funny story, Dave. When I found our first apartment home in Atlanta, my wife who moved from the mid-west, asked if I got a garage with the apartment. I could not figure out what she was talking about at first. LOL

        Sorry about the snow.

        • Dave Miller says

          It was supposed to be some kind of “snow-pocalypse” but it turned out to be a couple of inches. Just enough to need to be shoveled, but not enough to bust out the snow blower! But the cold and wind (wind chills below zero) made it an especially enjoyable task.

          • says

            That makes me shiver. I am a Southern Boy. I can still remember my ears turning to ice while waiting on the city bus to go to school in St. Louis. It took my step-father telling me that I wasn’t going to drop out of school and go back to Arkansas and that he didn’t want to hear any more about it. End of conversation about such a thing. After all, Who would argue with Charles Atlas (physically, my step-father was a close copy of that famed body builder – in physique).

  1. says

    Seeing that it hasn’t generated the same amount of controversial comments, I’d say you missed the mark, Mark.
    I appreciate your thoughts.

    • says

      Maybe I should find a way to disagree with you harshly or something…. I did get a text message early this morning from a friend who said he appreciated the post so there’s that.

      And thank you, Dale.

      • Dave Miller says

        Then I could delete your comment and you could whine about how mean I am.

        Everyone goes home happy, Mark.

        You really missed a chance here to do something good!

  2. says

    There are enough guys out there promising we can “win the world” if we’ll only get with the program and work hard enough down here. But the Bible doesn’t say that.

    One day, we’re going to wake up .. most likely .. to the very day we will draw our last breath. In that day, the only thing that will really matter to us is do we really believe God?

    Do we?

    If we claim we do, do we really believe Proverb 16:4? Do we believe the principle presented in Genesis 50:20 applies now? Can we really trust this God that came down in flesh, as we proclaim when things are going just swell?

    Go to Dachau. Go to the Nazi Documentation Center in Ubersalzberg. Go to Bergen-Belzen. Ask yourself those same questions.

    There will come a day when we have nothing else, but trust in God. We need to act like it now.

    • says

      Bob: add to it the photos of one of the smaller concentration camps taken by a member in my second pastorate. Add also the loss of both parents due to divorce at age 3-14, add many more tragic events. Deo volente, I will preach on Dec.30, my 72nd birthday (I just celebrated by 55 spiritual birthday on Dec. 7, the birthday of our grand daughter). My subject, God willing, will be, Divine Providence, text, Ps.31:15, the same text that I used about 16 years ago, after I was fired from a church on Dec. 29. They had me stand up, sung Happy Birthday, sent me and my wife outside, and then said, when we came back, “Well, we did this for your own good.” Some cruelty. I said, “Well, gentlemen, we will meet in eternity about this.” Those three deacons are in eternity. The first one died some 10 months later, a second 12 months later, and the third 10 years later. Funny, they also said to me, “Well, we couldn’t find anything wrong with you, but we fired you anyway.” Really! God, contrary to many who speak like the really know calvinism, even supralapsarianism, “allows or permits sin, permisso, as He is not, according to James the one who tempts to evil. Zanchius one of the original writers on Absolute Predestination, along with John Gill and some others, all speak of allowing or permitting, when it comes to sin. Yes, it took a decree, the decree to permit sin, but God only allowed it so long as it served His great purpose of saving fallen mankind. Live is no easy proposition, and neither are the solutions to its problems. My grandfather who was an orphan, knocked unconscious for 3 months with a hammer, beaten with a barbed wire whip, a man who feared death with horror, found peace with Christ, and died the easiest death the folks in that part of the country had ever seen.

  3. Bruce H. says

    They say we have lost our innocence. Not so, we will experience more unusual sins that bring great offense to us till Jesus comes. There is a devil out there entering a person that will soon perform the Judas offense again and again and again.

    “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

    Christians must consider living with the same purpose as the first coming of Jesus.

  4. Christiane says

    It was said in my Church:

    ‘Do not be afraid.
    Open, open wide the doors to Christ.’

    Christianity is lived out in our world in an ‘advent spirit’ full of longing for justice and filled with hope.

    The faith of Christ transcends the troubles of this world, because Christ Himself is seen as the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.

    so when comes the proclamation ‘do not be afraid . . . open wide the doors to Christ’,

    so in this sad place where death is,
    we can affirm the reason for our hope as
    the Lord Christ Himself, Risen From the Dead.
    His holy gift of peace to our souls is beyond all understanding.

  5. Greg Harvey says

    Pardon me for doing this, Mark. But the framework of your blog leads me to want to proclaim:

    Joy TO the WORLD, the LORD IS come.
    Let EARTH receive HER King.
    Let EVERY heart PREPARE him ROOM, <—-note the comma
    and Heaven AND Nature sing.

    (First he is KING…and then he REIGNS)

    JOY TO THE EARTH, the Savior REIGNS
    LET MEN their songs employ. <– this is MAN'S celebration
    While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
    REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY <–this is nature's antiphonal response

    (And if he is reigning, how will things be different??)

    No more let sins and sorrows grow
    Nor thorns infest the ground.
    He COME TO MAKE HIS BLESSINGS flow,
    Far as the curse is found.

    (And how does that reign go??)

    He rules the world with truth and grace
    And makes the nations prove
    The GLORIES of
    HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
    And WONDERS of his LOVE. <–THE NATIONS PROVE BOTH OF THESE THINGS!!!
    –Isaac Watts (emphasis and interlinear parenthetical comments mine)

    Now join me for a moment in observing what Isaac did with this song. He wrote it as a celebration of the birth, but what it really celebrates is what we often call the Millenial kingdom. It conflates the two together suggesting that his birth directly results in the Millenial reign. Now this might be bad eschatology–I've commented before that the a- and post-millenialists might very well have the BEST excuse for evangelism because they believe either in a non-literal kingdom or the ushering in of the postmillenial kingdom that happens directly through the effort of evangelism–but you can't deny that when you see the words THAT WAY, your heart is uplifted, much like the point Mark is making.

    And if that doesn't do it for you, get a room full of saved, baptized kids enthusiastically singing all four verses–especially after their choir director has explained it to them. Watch their eyes glow. And listen to them call down Heaven into your midst so you can celebrate, too.

    JOY TO THE WORD!! The Lord IS come!!

    Greg Harvey

    • Greg Harvey says

      Pardon me for doing this, Mark. But the framework of your blog leads me to want to proclaim:

      Joy TO the WORLD, the LORD IS come.
      Let EARTH receive HER King.
      Let EVERY heart PREPARE him ROOM, <—-note the comma
      and Heaven AND Nature sing.

      (First he is KING…and then he REIGNS)

      JOY TO THE EARTH, the Savior REIGNS
      LET MEN their songs employ. <– this is MAN'S celebration
      While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
      REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY <–this is nature's antiphonal response

      (And if he is reigning, how will things be different??)

      No more let sins and sorrows grow
      Nor thorns infest the ground.
      He COME TO MAKE HIS BLESSINGS flow,
      Far as the curse is found.

      (And how does that reign go??)

      He rules the world with truth and grace
      And makes the nations prove
      The GLORIES of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
      And WONDERS of his LOVE. <–THE NATIONS PROVE BOTH OF THESE THINGS!!!
      –Isaac Watts (emphasis and interlinear parenthetical comments mine)

      Now join me for a moment in observing what Isaac did with this song. He wrote it as a celebration of the birth, but what it really celebrates is what we often call the Millenial kingdom. It conflates the two together suggesting that his birth directly results in the Millenial reign. Now this might be bad eschatology–I’ve commented before that the a- and post-millenialists might very well have the BEST excuse for evangelism because they believe either in a non-literal kingdom or the ushering in of the postmillenial kingdom that happens directly through the effort of evangelism–but you can’t deny that when you see the words THAT WAY, your heart is uplifted, much like the point Mark is making.

      And if that doesn’t do it for you, get a room full of saved, baptized kids enthusiastically singing all four verses–especially after their choir director has explained it to them. Watch their eyes glow. And listen to them call down Heaven into your midst so you can celebrate, too.

      JOY TO THE WORD!! The Lord IS come!!

      Greg Harvey

      PS You can toss the first one…my apologies on breaking the highlighting and the italicizing if it happens again.