Today, another shooting has taken the lives of at least 27 individuals. According to news reports, twenty of these are little children mostly from one class or section of an elementary school in Connecticut. There is an unspeakable horror that fills the heart to think that tonight some children will no longer be preparing with their families for the Christmas season. Little children just starting out in life have had their young lives snuffed out before they really even began.
While many blogs and news items will focus on things like “Where was God?” or “Gun control” or whatever else will be the hot topic for the next days and weeks, my purpose for writing my personal thoughts are completely different.
This is not to belittle the nightmare the parents, children, teachers, and extended family and friends are going through, but it is an attempt to recognize something that only a tragedy can bring to light.
As I hugged my two little 6 year old girls earlier, tears came to my eyes thinking how short life can be. I realized that unlike the parents of those little children who are lying lifeless in pools of blood tonight, I still have the privilege of holding my little ones. Some parents may have lost their only child today, while other parents were able to go home and hug those siblings who remain and try to explain why their little brother or sister will never come home.
Yet, I wonder how many found themselves in situations, maybe even this morning, that are replicated in so many homes. Namely, we often take our children for granted until it is too late. Our children can be taken in so many ways, and when they are gone, there is nothing that we as parents can do to reverse the situation. In the grand scheme of things, the numbers of children who will die at the hands of a crazed gunman in America each year is slim. Many might assume that the answer to protecting our children from such tragedies is to homeschool them, but attacks around the world have shown that those who are bent on displaying the depths of their depravity have no rules about protecting the lives of any particular age group.
Sometimes our children are taken by the medium of time. The clock keeps ticking while our lives become entrapped with life, jobs, television, games, and many other things that keep from us from seeing how quickly their little lives are slipping away.
I cannot help but wonder how I would feel if it was my children who were lying on a cold floor waiting for a visit from a funeral director. I would probably deeply regret any words that I may have spoken in haste or maybe a harsh word that should have been curtailed realizing that children are not only imperfect but that I, as the father, am also imperfect and need to be changed by the grace of God.
Today is definitely a tragedy and will remain so. Words will never replace the lives of those who are gone from this life. But I wonder if we will actually learn from tragedies such as this shooting in Connecticut, or will life soon return to normal for each of us who did not lose any precious treasures. Yet, will we fail to remember that we are losing them one way or the other? Death and time are no respecter of persons.
Tonight, I have hugged my little ones, but I have also regretted the tragedy that took place because I allowed time to slip by me when my boys were little. They are now all adults and no longer in our home and I cannot retrace my steps. I cannot take back the harsh or careless words. I cannot reverse time and wish I had spent more time with them. If I fail to learn from my mistakes, they will be repeated.
The heart of mankind is wicked, and without the grace of God affecting a change from being dead into a new creation in Christ, tragedies will take place over and over. My prayer is that it will not take another shooting for us to realize what we have right now. Treasures have been placed in our care – treasures that are an heritage from the Lord. May we be reminded not just tonight, but every night that today may be our last or the last of our children.
We do not want to close the day regretting what we cannot change. May our lives not only reflect our love for and to our children, but may they reflect that Christ rules in every aspect of our life. To do otherwise would be an even greater tragedy – a tragedy that will never make the news, but would be a tragedy nonetheless.