It was a senseless display of violence, an act so horrific that innate response is to squeeze eyes shut, all the while begging God to spare your loved ones from such viciousness. Heartbreaking images were displayed across the world yesterday, causing a restriction in the chest that makes it difficult to breathe.
Those relying on a more cerebral approach to faith will be overcome by the illogical nature of this tragedy.
Those who practice a justice seeking mentality will be overcome by a sense that all is out of control.
Those who feel deeply for others will be overcome by the suffocation known as suffering.
Those who cope by denial will unexpectedly be overcome by sudden grief.
And those who can identify with the loss as experienced by devastated parents will be overcome by a heart that physically hurts with each beat, desiring at times, for it to stop altogether.
Regardless of the severity of the response, natural tendency is to become buried under the enormity of such shocking tragedy. How do we continue forward while knowing that others can only stand paralyzed and still? How do we enjoy the birth and celebration of Christ as others grieve the death and devastation of small children? How do we lavish in the luxury of tucking our little ones in safely at night as other parents comfort themselves in too small blankets and in too small beds empty of the children that will never lay there again?
How do we do this? The answer is we can’t.
We can’t overcome the maliciousness and the wickedness of the world. There will be times we can’t combat the criminal, the immoral or the depraved. The hopelessness of this reality should bring about the bleakest of futures if not for the all-powerful, all-consuming, all-saving hope found in Jesus.
Not only does God see the vileness that happens to our children, He promises to correct every wrong. The same Hands that created the world – every human, tree, animal, star and sunset – are the same Hands that will repay those that inflict harm on the innocents.
Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written,"It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
And even as we trust that God will punish the evil, we are told how to survive through the aftermath of violence that seems impossible to overcome:
Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
When the evil that surrounds us wants to smother us, counteract the suffocation with good. As the malevolence of our world knocks us to the ground, restore the fall with acts of benevolence. Only then will we be able to stand again.
God overcame so that we would not be overcome.
And for a sad day like today, it is enough.