The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012.
I join my fellow Americans in grieving the terrible tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary and in praying for the families involved. It is unthinkable that someone would have such anger and bitterness in his heart that he would attack innocent people in such a devastating way. Truly, it is difficult for any of us to grasp. When I think of the terrifying last moments of the children and staff members of the school, I am absolutely heartbroken for them, their families, their schoolmates, and everyone at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Certainly, there are many who are wondering why God would allow such a horrific tragedy. Where was He? Why did He allow this? Why didn’t He stop this young man from perpetrating this terrible crime? I confess I have many questions myself. But does it shake my faith in God? No. It actually makes me more grateful for Him. This is because in God, I always have hope, no matter what happens.
We may never discover the answer to our questions this side of heaven. The truth is, evil is dangerous and destructive, and it is no respecter of the innocent among us. But we also know that this tragedy grieves the heart of God very deeply. Thankfully, we’re assured that His desire is to comfort those who are mourning, and if people will seek Him in the midst of this tragedy, they will certainly find Him. And through His provision of Jesus Christ—who we celebrate at Christmas—we know that if we accept His gift of salvation, we have a home that awaits us in heaven where there are no tears; there is no pain, no evil, and no death; and where we will be reunited with our loved ones.
I hope everyone reading this will join me in praying for the families affected—especially for the parents of these children who will face unspeakable grief this Christmas and an extremely long healing process in the years ahead. Please pray for our nation, asking God to help us regain a respect for life and for the innocent and helpless among us. I also pray that parents and grandparents across America will hold their children and grandchildren more tightly today, taking the opportunity to tell them how much they love them. I know I certainly will.
May God show you His love and comfort in a powerful way. And may He continue to bless America.
Dr. Charles Stanley is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries , his teaching and broadcast ministry. If this tragedy has stirred fear, sorrow, or questions within you, In Touch Ministries is making available a special message, “Our Choices in the Midst of Tragedy” as a gift. Call In Touch Ministries’ Customer Care Center at 800-789-1473 or e-mail [email protected] for resources to help you find answers or visit intouch.org/adversity.
Related content from On Faith: