Suffer The Little Children

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Try as I may, there’s no pretending that last Friday in Connecticut didn’t happen. It did.

Now, as photographs of these precious little ones, who were slaughtered without mercy, appear on the internet, I just can’t look at them. Like many of you, I see my own children and grandchildren in their innocent faces and I weep.  

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”

 I suspect that prayer, or one similar, was said by many of the victims on Thursday night as they were tucked into their beds. So, where was God the next morning to at least provide a warning or a guardian angel to protect them from this attention-seeking mad man armed to the teeth on a mission to snuff out their young lives?

As I imagine the image of those frightened six and seven year olds; executed as they huddled together in a corner of  their classroom, I’m not in the mood to hear about the mysterious ways in which God works or, in seeking comfort, we must offer up more prayers to that same God who seems to have turned a deaf ear to the innocent pleas of those children from the night before. Which prayers get through and which ones find brick walls? How dare I ask the question?

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Christian whose faith has been shaken to the core by this atrocity and whose reaction has been more of anger than of pious submission and unquestioning obedience; historically a dangerous precedent.  

My maker provided me with a brain; how can he not want me to use it even if it is filled with questions about such things as why children, who’ve yet to experience a full life like mine, have theirs snatched away in a hail of gunfire..or a famine..or genocide or disease? 

I’ve already had one friend on Facebook express disappointment in my attitude. He reminds me that  anger never solves anything but prayer does. I wanted to write back and point out a few obvious exceptions but chose not to. The days, weeks and months ahead are already shaping up to be overwhelmed with fighting between friends who happen to have different opinions about things like gun control and proper parenting.

A few weeks ago, Mallorie Hansmann, Lay Evangelical Leader and music director at Springdale Lutheran Church, asked if I’d narrate this year’s Christmas Cantata featuring music from our adult choir. I said, sure. The title of the presentation was “All Is Well.” Then came Friday when it became crystal clear that all was “not well” and I came close to calling Mallorie to say my heart wasn’t in it and to get somebody else. But, of course, Linda..whose faith never wavers..wasn’t about to let me beg off so I said a quick prayer asking for some sort of revelation to ease my anxiety..then stood up there in front of the congregation so they could get a good look at the hypocrite I am and whom Jesus warned of throughout the gospels, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

On the very first page of the narration leading into the choir’s second song, these words jumped out at me as I read them: “For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in “ADAM” so all will be made alive in Christ.

Then I read the account of the Virgin Mary who willingly accepted Gabriel’s call that she bear God’s son..knowing full well that, in spite of his innocence, she would one day have to see her first born son,  Jesus, tortured and nailed to a cross in payment for the world’s sin.

As the choir took a break, a young lady from our congregation with an angelic voice, Mickey McGrann, sang two songs about Mary and the birth of our savior.

The anger I’d been feeling gradually was replaced by a lump in my throat so large I feared being unable to continue the task at hand.

But finish we did and applause for the music and effort by all the participants was genuine and sustained. As I returned to my place out of view during the offertory I heard another sweet young female voice and looked around the corner into the sanctuary to see 8 or 9 year old Sydney Hage playing perfect chords with her little hands on a guitar nearly as big as she was and beautifully singing “Away in a Manger.”

I was glad for the handkerchief I’d remembered to stuff in my jacket and noticed others looking in their pockets and purses for theirs. It was as if God was using this little angel to let us all know that we are not forsaken and He understands our sorrow.

I still ache to know answers to so many spiritual questions..especially why children must suffer and die,  but am also eternally grateful for those two talented young girls whose music helped  steady my own faltering faith in a little country church last Sunday morning.

27 Comments

  1. Muriel Jamison says:

    so well said, Doug… we can’t understand.. and it’s hard to even think about the horror of that day… and for so many days to come for those bereft families … thank you for your words

  2. Mark says:

    About a week ago, this fellow, “Doug” wondered if he should quit blogging. I believe that with this message it is clear to all that that good fellow still has important, timely things to say. Thank you for putting those thoughts into words. I too ache to know the answers..

  3. Sweeps says:

    This is a situation about which none of us will ever know the answers. It’s all well and good to know that “the Lord works in mysterious ways”, but it doesn’t ease the heartache when the answer to OUR prayer is NO. I ache to know the answers, but I’m grateful, too, for the little things that bolster my faith, like those precious Sunday School children. It would be too overwhelming to contemplate if I didn’t have that consolation.

  4. Patches says:

    So well written Doug. Thank you for putting into words what we’re all thinking. There are no satisfactory answers to the question WHY. Sending a bear hug, wish it could help. :’(

  5. Paula B says:

    Very difficult subject to even think about, but very well said Doug.

  6. Linda Tobias says:

    I always have to think how do people without religion deal with disasters such as with these young kids when it is so hard for those of us that do have religion to fall back on. Great Message Doug. The shootings have made us all take a step back and look a little deeper at our world.

  7. Les McKinney says:

    Very well put. I truely hope that you are not serious about thinking about retiring from blogging as many of us truly enjoy your work. I hope you find peace and have a Merry Christmas

  8. Kaye says:

    This horrific, satanic shooting proves that the devil has a strong hold on people. Satan wants to take control of this world and all of God’s people. We need to turn to Jesus and follow in his foot steps.

  9. Claude says:

    Hi Doug, I could’nt agree with you more. Where WERE there guardian angels ? ( out to lunch ? ) How could god turn a deaf ear to there cries & fear ? God works in mysterious way’s ? That phrase is used & abused .
    The phrase basicly mean’s : Whoop’s, we were hoping nobody asked that question because we don’t have a good answer. ( or a answer that makes sense ! ) And, this does’nt just apply to this school shooting. Everyday we read about little children ( the innocent of the world ) burning in fires, dying in car wrecks, getting deadly diease’s, and a 100 other horrible situations. Does’nt sound like a very loving or caring god.
    Amen ?

  10. Mike O says:

    Hi Doug I still believe if more people would have a concealed weapons permit in this country of ours we wouldnt have as many of these things happen average response time of the police is 4-6 mins average response time of someone with a concealed weapon about 10 seconds .Would you rather sit there and watch people get shot by these wackos or do something about it .Nowadays a person dont know where the next shooting will occur movie theatre the mall a diner or a school i am not promoting violence but come on america lets start standing up for ourselves………………..

  11. Daniel Johnson says:

    The killer like all Humans had free agency , unlike other creatures on this planet which are driven by instinct . So far in the history of mankind we have established an inability to rule ourselves with way to many instances of violence either by individuals or by organized effort. God could have created us as robots responsive to his every instruction but He elected to make us free to make our own decisions. In the Christian faith even though we die we will in due time be restored to life . In the meantime we must bear the burden of what it means to have the gift of free agency with all of its implications.

  12. Julie says:

    Good blog Doug. Many are also wondering why God wasn’t there that day for those little children who died. I choose to believe he was there. He welcomed them into heaven and just possibly was there to guide the adults in their actions thereby allowing so many other little children to survive that day. I agree with what Daniel said — He doesn’t manipulate our every action and thought but He did give us His son in order for us to have a heaven. If you have ever watched a little child suffer and die from cancer, or had to grieve over the loss of a child that was taken from you, molested and murdered you would wonder the same thing — “Where was God?” He didn’t stop the death but He took them into His arms and took away all the pain and bad and gave them only peace and happiness.

    My grief today is also for the family of the shooter and his mother. They are left with their grief and having to face burying their family too. They are also left with facing and dealing with the horror of what one of their family members has done as well as the funeral and burying of their family members.

    The country is screaming for something to be done. I’m not sure more control is what is needed. I wish we would concentrate more on what I see as a growing problem with our kids — a disconnect. We need to put more emphasis on getting help for these kids with issues. We think the answer is to plop them into a mainstream classroom and we expect them to be “normal”. Parents don’t want to face the fact that there may be a problem. They often don’t have the ability to provide the help these kids need. The problem wasn’t the gun that day. The problem was what evolved before that young man decided to pick up that gun that day.

  13. Barb F. says:

    Amen Doug!! We are all confused by how God could let this happen, BUT we have to remember that there is a LOT of sin in our world.. Jesus died to overcome this sin and HE will be the victor some day. Until then , we have to keep praying and be thankful that all who died last week are now safe in Heaven ……..far away from sin!!
    (ps..Keep up the good work on your blogs!!)

  14. justsayin says:

    Maybe if we didn’t usher God out of our schools, we wouldn’t be asking where he was?

  15. Pete E says:

    Thanks for the blogs Doug. I have never responded before but have a couple thoughts I feel that I need to share.

    There must not be a God as we have allowed his name to be removed from anything public such as government and schools. No prayers or ten commandments in public places.

    We now have states approving same sex marriages and starting to legilize drugs.

    Twenty lives lost in one place. How does that to compare to how many lives are lost every day from abortion. Where is the outrage and concern over those lives.

    Perhaps the country is beginning to reap what we have been sowing.

  16. Kaye says:

    Pete……..you are right on!!

  17. Mark says:

    Its hard to understand why this happened. Can’t stand to watch the news. It breaks my heart, but one thing I do know is that your blog helped me to understand that we have not been forsaken. He is always with us! Please don’t stop your good work.

  18. Denny says:

    your best work, Brother

  19. kenneth says:

    sick people do sick things, and no amount of prayer or asking for gods help is ever gona change that.

  20. Eric says:

    Doug this is going back to a couple blogs ago, but thought you would be more likely to see it here since it is a more recent blog. I just wanted to let you know that i really enjoy your blogs on here. I look forward to them each week, and I like reading the comments of different points of views. I don’t comment on here, but please know that there are plenty of people like myself, who enjoy reading, but don’t necessarily feel like we have much to add all the time. I feel like I know you, and we have never met.

    I will also tell you that I work for the bank that Myron Lee is a security guard for. When i worked downtown he and I would have many conversations at the bank about your blog, and I would occasionally print him off a copy so he can read it and keep up with you. I still see him on occasion when i am downtown for meetings, and he is always asking if there have been any good “Doug stories”. The more random the story, the better!

    You have quite the fan base, and I know a lot of people would be disappointed if they weren’t able to read your blogs. Type on Doug!

  21. JeniW says:

    God is everywhere, whether there are no words spoken or seen about God, God is still everywhere,

    God was not ushered out of schools or any place else. That is not possible, because God is everywhere.

    Instead of blaming God for this ugly event, put the blame right where it belongs.

    Much of human sufferings are caused by humans.

    As the song goes “let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me….” As individuals we cannot do much to prevent humans from causing suffering of humans, but with enough of us, we can.

    Thank you for your comments Doug.

  22. howsitgoinn says:

    … I am not sure what I have more of, … Faith or Hope. …. but am glad for both. … thanks for your story and thoughts Doug.

    life is good

  23. Gerard says:

    One scripture in particular comes to mind for me whenever extreme evil seems to have a victory…..1 JOHN 5:19 “We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”. Another may help to explain and at least give semblance of an answer….JOB 34:12 “Yes, for a fact, God himself does not act wickedly, and the Almighty himself does not pervert judgment.” Another may help someone also to understand….JEREMIAH 10:23 “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step”. Another for reassurance of the Truth….2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully equipped for ever good work.” Fellow commentors, please do not accused me of “preaching” for these are not my words, but are the words of the Creator that we all worship everyday. I am merely looking for answers just as all of you are. There are no mysteries in true Christianity….I believe the answers are present in his Word for all to see. This may do little to console the deeply grieving heart at this time but does begin to at least to reveal a dialogue that needs to be pursued. And finally REVELATION 21:4 “And He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

  24. Sweeps says:

    Please pray for comfort, justice, and mercy in the death of the young man in Pierre for all the families involved. Regardless of which side you fall on, it’s a tragedy, and Pierre is reeling. Thank you.

  25. GMAX9 says:

    Each of us has to find comfort where we can. For me, it was with the arms of one of my granddaughters wrapped tightly around my neck and the tears that simple embrace released. I do feel, however, that it is time we stand up and quit letting the minority rule because they are the loudest. Let’s protest the removal of Christian symbols from our public places. I believe in freedom OF religion not FROM religion.

    As Christmas approaches I hope each of us will sit down with a child (children) and read the Christmas story to them – be it from the Bible or from a child’s storybook. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read it or how many times they’ve heard it, that is what Christmas is about. Put Christ in your life and the lives of your children. As it’s been said, the only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men (people) to do nothing.

    Merry Christmas to you and Linda, Doug. I look forward to seeing you here in 2013!

  26. Dawn says:

    Thank you. I have no other words at this time but simply Thank you for writing this, for sharing your heart, and for sharing yourself with all of us.

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