Tonight we attended a farewell party for a dear friend and co-worker who is headed back to the States next week. We came home and began the regular chore of getting the kids in bed. In the midst of our bedtime routine of Pull-Ups and pajamas and toothbrushes, I opened the laptop and quickly learned of the horrible elementary school shooting in Connecticut.
I walked to the boys’ room and told Kassie the news. The early reports I read said 16-20 small children had been killed. We shared a moment of shock, hugged the kids a little tighter, and took some extra moments with the goodnight kisses.
Now Kassie and I are sitting in the living room and reading and watching the news. Just a minute ago, I turned to her and said with tears welling up in my eyes, “You know, those little kids with Jesus aren’t sad anymore.” We cried and sniffed in silence for a few minutes and then something hit me. I looked up at our Christmas tree and then at the packages underneath it.
“Oh, the Christmas presents under their trees…” I realized aloud.
“I was just thinking about that,” sniffed Kassie, “and the Christmas programs… everything.”
Next, I imagined the empty beds in Newtown, Connecticut tonight. I cried for the parents who will sit on those beds and smell the pillows and teddy bears of their children. Children who were ripped from their arms today. I wondered if maybe some little boy had a blue and white-striped comforter like my five year-old. Maybe they’ll be sobbing into a dinosaur pillow like the one my kindergartner and I shared tonight as I sang him to sleep.
And, I thought of the hope we have. Each night, I pray for my kids and I ask God to bless them with peace, hope, salvation, a Godly spouse and kids and grandkids. I also sing them a little lullaby, which I think was written by John Piper. It goes:
Come rest your head and nestle gently
And do not fear the dark of night.
Almighty God keeps watch intently,
And guards your life with all his might.
Doubt not his love, nor power to keep,
He never fails, nor does he sleep.
Just a minute ago, I played one of our favorite songs, called Tanzania by Alli Rogers. It’s a good song for heartache. Part of the lyrics go like this:
Someday I will wake
where the earth is clean and safe.
My children have a place to play,
not here in Tanzania.
And someday I will live
in a house that’s built by
hands that hold the world.
I’m also reminding myself of a few amazing statements in the Bible, the book that gives me hope and a reason to live.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile […] If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:17a,19
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4