Saturday, December 15, 2012

What tragedy does

What tragedy does is rocks our humanity at the core. We are so human.

So limited. So finite.

It's uncomfortable when we're faced with our frailty. Particularly when we are not prepared to face it.

We will all die. We don't know when or how. We will all suffer loss and probably it will sneak up on us, like a hideous monster who creeps around a corner and gnashes it's teeth in our face when we least expect.

And the thing most interesting to me in the past 24 hours that I've observed since the Newtown tragedy broke yesterday is about the way people in general respond to tragedy. Our humanness surfaces when we are faced with our deepest fears.

That menacing truth we all know deep down in our hearts of flesh screamed at us yesterday: we are not in control.

And that message, for some, is utterly terrifying.

So much so that they began campaigns already, shouting CHANGE, and STOP, and LAWS, and RULES and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. We thought about our own kids, own schools, how safe they are, how sure we feel, how secure everything is, and on we reeled.

I even started letting my head spin into doubt about whether my kids were safe; I walk around their school campus unsupervised all the time. Anyone could walk through the front gate and towards the classrooms without even making it to the office to "check in." When I'm in a hurry to a class, I do the same. The rules for adults on campus, upon reflection yesterday, seemed loose and unenforced. A little out of control.

While I know tragedy has a very productive way of exposing our vulnerabilities as a society, and while I know important change can be the result, what I see most in these sorts of movements is a feeble attempt to control something when life feels so out of control.

And here's the thing. Life IS out of control. We need to get used to it. It is completely out of OUR control, anyways. And it is wholly IN God's control.

It is never God's will for evil to reign. He never even willed us to die, in His original design for us. But sin came in. And with it came a persistent darkness that spun from the garden of Eden down through the ages. And we watch darkness reach our communities. Our marriages. Our parenting. It reaches our homes and our children. It swarms all around us.

For reasons we dare not ask or try to discover, God allows that darkness to persist. In His wisdom and for His good purposes, He allows His heart, His children, and His beauty to be trampled.

But don't think for a minute that He doesn't hate it. Yes, God hates. The Bible uses that verb a few times to describe His strong emotion. His patience will run out. It's a promise. He will one day, in terrible wrath none of us can imagine, avenge every speck of darkness in this world. That's a promise.

He is in the business of justice, friends. And He is in the business of restoration. Healing. Making beauty again from ashes.

I'm so glad He is in control.

I'm so glad I can walk in freedom today knowing that He knows. He sees. And one day, He will make His name known.

Every knee will bow.

Every tongue will confess that He is God, the Lord Almighty is His name.



  1. Good, good, and good. I was just having this conversation with my jr. higher as we discussed CT's horrible tragedy... that we are not to live in fear. That even though we don't understand the whys and hows, we can put our trust in the One who does. Thanks for reminding me afresh today.

  2. of course this is amazing and beautiful, i love you so so much

  3. Beautiful. We are not in control. Glory, Hallelujah-->HE IS.

  4. just shared this with my people, yet again. Its almost like your words are my heart, I just cant put them together like you do. I hope that many hurting and confused people find peace in the gospel and the promise that it will all be made right. Thank you Leslie again, for taking the time to speak this most beautiful truth. My mind also went straight to "are we safe" and I could just get on the floor, put my face on the ground and cry out, thank you God, I am NOT in control.

  5. again, you speak my heart.
    i'm so glad that i am not the one calling the shots.
    i can rest in Perfect Peace and His Perfect Plan.
    come quickly, Lord Jesus.

  6. I wrote yesterday on my blog,

    Come to us, Price of Peace.
    Shine light into our darkness.
    Heal our broken hearts.
    We do not understand when innocents are slain and innocence is stolen.
    Evil stares us in the face and dares us to believe that God is always good and Emmanuel is always with us.
    Come to us, Prince of Peace.

    Leslie, as usual you have captured the truth and pointed us to the Truth in such a beautiful way.

  7. thanks for bold truthful words.

  8. this is an amazing post...thank you for sharing your heart!