“And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.'” – Matt. 17:7
Surely we’re all aware of the horrific tragedy that occurred this past Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. While we’re unable to grasp the brutality of this massacre, evil’s enormity becomes clearer as we view pictures and learn about the lives of those slain. How could someone so cold-bloodedly murder tiny children? How could he gaze on their precious faces and proceed with plans to fatally harm? This incident is absolutely heartbreaking–for the parents, siblings, extended family, co-workers, friends, etc. My sympathies go out in response to their unspeakable loss. I pray for God’s comfort and peace in their lives as they learn how to continue without their loved ones.
I Corinthians 15:26 reveals “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” Praise God for this promise. Death has taken loved ones from me–our firstborn child whom I miscarried, grandparents, and a precious friend. Yet I’m comforted knowing I’ll see them again–“… thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57). Because of Him, we can hope. Because of Him, there is life.
We must never despair even in tragedies like this school shooting, for those who belong to God through Christ live forevermore. As these helpless victims likely crouched in sheer terror, I imagine them crossing death’s threshold. Maybe Jesus tenderly touched them and told them to arise … to not be afraid. Those who belonged to Him in this life are now in His glorious presence. Every tear has been wiped from their eyes and they will never suffer again.
I cannot imagine losing my child in a surge of evil such as this madness. Yet our heavenly Father willingly gave His only Son into wicked men’s hands. Jesus was beaten and spit upon … crowned with thorns and marred beyond recognition. He was brutalized and crucified for our sake. As Romans 8:32 poignantly says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
Dear friend, let’s gather closely around those we love this Christmas season. Whether we’re blessed materially with a lot or a little makes no difference. By God’s grace, we’re blessed beyond words simply to have each other.
“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible.” – Eph. 6:24
Photo by Everett Wickham