My heart is heavy (as I know is many of yours) at the godawful tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, and at the home of the dead assassin whose own mother was his first murder. Shock, anger and a profound sadness all do battle with the gospel of Jesus in me. The shock is due to the overwhelming sickness and cowardice of the act, including the killer killing himself. Where is blame to be put? You won’t find me pointing any fingers. I find that an exercise in futility-an after the fact attempt to deflect the horror away from my heart and mind and soul-a way to quickly remove myself from the equation. That would be deceitful, and I loathe what happens to me when I attempt to deceive myself. The anger too is natural and unavoidable if we want to maintain mental health, but impotent as it has no viable focus that promises satisfaction or real change. And all the gospel offers is Jesus.
Will I again take him to heart and live him out in this dark dark hour? When Jesus told a crowd of fair weather followers that to follow him they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, many turned away from him in disgust. He turned to those he had most counted on-the twelve-and said, will you go too? Peter, who was always the quickest to speak for the twelve, said to Jesus, “To whom shall we go? You are the one who has the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) It was Peter’s way of saying, you sometimes make it hard to stick with you, Jesus, with your “my way of the highway”, love at all costs with everyone in every situation ways. Every situation? Even this one? Every one? Even that one? At all costs? Can you really ask us to stay with you on the love path at this heavy heavy cost? But then, where else would we go? Who else but you is more trustworthy? Who else but you knows what it takes to make life work?”
So easy or not, we cannot give into the darkness and even in our hearts or minds join it-take up it’s hatred-give in to it’s hopelessness-take the place of God by taking matters into our own hands. Well, of course we can-but then we would have to leave Jesus behind to do it. For today-right now-in me-it’s hard, but not as hard as hell. For today-right now-the gospel wins. I’m sticking with Jesus. And damn, it hurts.