Front pages all across our nation are carrying the same story this morning. Once again we are mourning the loss of innocence as some warped individual decided to act out a crazed fantasy or lost control of his faculties and lashed out at his view of reality. Television networks will bring in their experts for days on end to speculate and give their opinions as to the possible motive behind the man’s actions and to offer some vague idea of how people are supposed to cope with such tragedy. Politicians will rant and rave about how terrible it is that something like this could happen and offer to pass new laws which they say will prevent such things from happening, as though what happened wasn’t against the law already.
So many voices and so many opinions, but no one wants to speak of the truth. The truth of the matter is that this tragedy could not have been nor can be prevented. Evil exists in this world. If a wicked person chooses to do an evil deed, he will find a way to do it. Unless he gives some warning beforehand, all we can do is respond, however quickly, after the fact. Certainly we can use wisdom and good sense to enact measures to make it more difficult for these situations to happen, but we can never completely prevent their occurrence. All we can do is hope to hinder them as much as possible, to stop them from becoming as horrible as they could be, and to deal with the aftermath.
People will ask, what do we do now; how do we handle what has happened? We can spout about how we must do what we can and move on, or learn to put such things behind us, or find some reason behind the madness which will allow us to cope. But the truth here is that we cannot. We can patch up our physical hurts and attempt to ease our minds, but the scars and memories will be there forever. We can study and speculate and analyze, but in the end we’ll never know for sure the exact reason behind such actions. Besides, knowing and even understanding the reason will not make the hurt go away. On our own, we don’t have the capabilities to handle this or any tragedy. Fortunately, there is One who does, and He is the embodiment of truth.
Tragedies such as this one never catch Him by surprise because He sees them before they happen, and in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, He allows them to take place. He can do this because He is able to see into the deepest heart of not only the one who causes such pain, but also the ones who must endure it. He offers to walk through these storms with us, a constant guide and companion, so we never have to be or even feel alone with our hurt. And even though He could give us the reasons and wherefores behind our trouble, He gives us peace instead for He is the Prince of Peace.
I pray in the days and weeks and months ahead that our Heavenly Father will pour out His comfort on those hurting and grant them the peace that can come only from Him.