when 20 children die

I, like most mothers in America, sat on my couch in front of the breaking news—and wept. Through my tears, I heard a commentator mention that beyond the tragedy itself, the timing was tragic, as the Christmas countdown is on. He even quoted a parent recalling their child’s last words that morning, something about a Christmas gift they were anxiously awaiting.

I thought long about the commentator’s words.

I tried to stop thinking about his words. I cleaned the kitchen, the upstairs and the downstairs bathroom. “What tragic timing on top of it all…” I checked email and formatted a conference paper. “…on top of it all…” I drove to the grocery store. “…anxiously awaiting…”

I came home and opened my Bible to the book of Romans, chapter 8, verse 19-21:

“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.”

And there in print, were the same themes as the commentator’s words. Waiting. Death. Children. Anticipating a time.

God never meant the earth for evil, but the propensity towards it has always been here. Even in the Garden, stood good and evil, awkwardly next to one another. A rivalry amid branches. God has allowed the two to coexist until His time is full. He extends grace, and redeems the time (Eph 5:16).

It is here where we begin segregating ourselves. We put mass shooters, and rapists, and thieves in hell and we place ourselves in heaven. We justify our shortcomings before a perfect God by making them relative to horrendous acts like that of this week’s. We forget that the extension of grace, includes us. The redeeming of time, is for us. The rivalry of the branches, is the rivalry of our hearts.

Christians, we mourn their coexistence (good & evil), but we are not defeated by it. We are inspired to wait more eagerly for our good God, that forgives humble, evil hearts. We are inspired to cling more desperately to His grace, to make good acts prevail until Perfection completes them. Until all His children are together. Until all of creation is whole. Until evil burns to ashes, and we blow it away with eternal breath.

 

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