On Thursday afternoon, we took our children out of school a little early to get away for a few hours. Thirty to be exact. (More than a day, but not by much). We drove over to Cincinnati and visited the Great Wolf Lodge and The Creation Museum. Wayland and I both felt it was important to invest some quality time together as a family after experiencing several weeks of busyness, stress, and strain. With Wayland starting at the church this morning, and knowing our schedule is going to look much different going forward, it seemed like the perfect idea to get away from the rest of the world for just a bit and be together as a family.
I had every intention to share some great pics and recount some hilarious stories of our short time removed from the daily grind, but as you all know (and knew well before we did), tragedy struck again on Friday, and we are all reeling in the wake of such horrific evil.
One of the perks of “getting away from it all,” is removing yourself from distractions: to-do lists, news, electronics, noise. It gives you a great opportunity to focus instead on those you hold dear. As we were soaring and squealing down water slides Friday morning, screams were filling the halls of an elementary school in Connecticut. As we were touring the exhibits of the Creation Museum Friday afternoon, parents whose children were my little Luke’s age were receiving unfathomable news. We were ignorant to the pain unfolding, and it was a good place to be while it lasted.
We began to hear snippets of information from fellow museum goers late Friday and knew something bad had happened. We checked our phones for details, but nothing could have prepared us for what the headlines read. HOW? and WHY? have been playing on a continual loop in my brain ever since.
Yesterday at church, twenty-seven burning candles lined the platform in honor of those who lost their lives in this senseless cataclysmic act. We abandoned the joyful songs of the season, and lifted heavy hearts in a true sacrifice of praise to a Sovereign God who is big enough to handle our HOW? and WHY’s?
I’m going to be honest, some of the lines were too hard for me to sing. Not because I doubt their truth; my faith remains, albeit tattered and torn at times. I do believe He is a good God. I do believe His heart aches for those who ache. I believe Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father, weeping with those that weep. Still, in times like these I want more. I want answers. I want justice. I want those babies back in their Momma’s arms.
I thanked God that I was able to hug and kiss each of my children Friday night, and I felt as if I were begging Him for their safety as they left for school this morning. Watching my children get on the bus, it dawned on me that many of the parents who lost their babies on Friday prayed the same thing that awful morning. So the WHY?’s return. And I know why, in a clouded sense. We live in a fallen world. Man has a free will, and over and over we see that evil is chosen. Even so, there will never be an answer to fully satisfy. A justifiable reason simply does not exist. And so with my HOW’s and WHY’s I take refuge in a faithful God who I choose to trust even in my confusion.
Our life group came over last night and we spent quite a bit of time together in prayer. It was a beautiful time of transparency, discussion and encouragement. It was just what I needed following a weekend filled with both joy and tragedy, and was the perfect way to start off a week of brand new beginnings.
These are some scriptures that I felt impressed to pray specifically for the families of the victims of Newtown.
Psalm 9:9 “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Psalm 33:20-22 “Our soul waits for the LORD, He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his Holy name. Let your steadfast love, Oh LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
Psalm 25:16-17 “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.”
Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Personally, my anthem this week will be a song by Jenn Johnson we sang yesterday in service.
God I look to You, I wont be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom; You know just what to do
I will love You Lord my strength
I will love You Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock forever
All my days I will love You God
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns forever
All my days Hallelujah