Yesterday morning, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and began spraying the school with bullets. He killed four adults, twenty children, and finally, himself. Prior to this, he killed his own mother.
It’s less than two weeks until Christmas and this nation is in shambles.
No motive is known yet, but what motive could exist? I mean, we’ve seen quite a few deadly shootings in our lifetime. Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Dark Knight Massacre from earlier this year, a handful of others these past few years, and now this. Twenty innocent elementary school kids – Gone.
We all want answers. We never find much. What we do find doesn’t help us at all.
And so, we call out to God. “How could you let this happen?! What kind of God would allow this?!”
Christians, of course, are expected to answer the rest of the world, for God.
And all of our answers always suck.
Yesterday, I saw several people on Facebook post the old “God, why don’t you stop the violence in our schools?” photo, where God answers, “I’m not allowed in schools.”
I hate this thing.
It’s callous, it’s rude, it almost feels like God is flipping everyone the bird as he says this. Like he’s saying, “You got what you deserved.”
I’m sorry. My God would not respond like that. That is the wrong way to make your point, valid or not.
But that brings us to the only other answer we have, as Christians, at a time like this: “It’s all a part of God’s plan.”
Is that really true? Can it be? I mean, are you telling me that God planned for this to happen? God mapped it out? God put this into motion for some unseen purpose?
This is an awful idea! This is basically like saying that this child-murderer is just a tool of God. Or that God himself is the murderer for planning this out! Can’t you see how someone would come to that conclusion?
“It’s all a part of God’s plan” is a misleading statement, especially to a non-believer.
Bear with me, this can get confusing.
Was this tragedy a part of God’s plan? No.
Is this tragedy a part of God’s plan? Yes.
See, it’s already confusing.
In Celebrate Recovery, when we discuss the importance of forgiving those who’ve hurt us in the past, we get to a point where we have to “forgive” God.
We all blame God from time to time or in some way for allowing bad things to happen. Especially when we are told by other’s that this bad thing is a part of His plan. That it was His will.
But, that is not the case. God never WILLS that anything bad ever happen to us.
However, he KNOWS that bad stuff will happen to us.
That’s the part we have trouble with. God is outside of time. He sees Day One, now, and the Last Day all at the same time. He knows everything that has happened, everything happening now, and everything that is going to happen.
And we want to think that, if that is the case, God should stop bad things from happening.
The reason he doesn’t, though, is because he chose to give us free will.
We make our own decisions. God did not will for Adam Lanza to kill 26 people. Adam Lanza did.
This is what I mean when I saw that this tragedy WASN’T a part of God’s plan. However, now that it has happened, this tragedy IS a part of God’s plan, moving forward.
You see, we say that phrase, “It’s all a part of God’s plan,” and it sounds like we are telling people that it HAD to happen for God to do something great in the future.
That’s the wrong message. The better phrase would be, “It’s all a part of God’s plan NOW.” It happened, and now God is going to use this tragedy and make something beautiful come out of it.
The reality is actually quite wonderful. God’s plans are to bring beauty from tragedy. To take what the Devil did for evil and pull good from it instead. God, in his loving heart, wants to make sure that those children are still responsible for making this world a better place, even though their lives were cut short.
God didn’t want this to happen, but he knew it was going to, and I can promise you, he started moving through this tragedy long before it took place. Most of the results will be small, personal things to specific individuals. But one thing is for sure, for those who trust in God’s plan, their lives will ultimately be changed for the better and this world will one day be brighter.
Evil took these lives away for its own purposes. God will take those evil purposes away and replace them with plans for the ultimate good.
God does have a plan. We just have to trust Him to do it.
And while we trust God to move, we mourn.
Pray for Newtown.