Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 17, 2012

Funerals in Newtown

Sandy Hook First FuneralOver the coming days, twelve girls, eight boys, and seven adults will be laid to rest in Newtown, Connecticut — all victims of Adam Lanza’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The first two funerals are scheduled for today for six-year old boys Noah Ponzer, whose twin sister escaped the shooting, and Jack Pinto. Over the past couple of days the tragedy has taken on a deeper and more painful turn as the names and photographs of the dead have been released. It’s one thing to hear that twenty-seven people were killed by a deranged gunman and quite another to look into the faces of each of the victims and to learn their stories.

It’s unlikely that we will ever know the reasons why Adam Lanza killed his own mother and then took the lives of so many innocent and defenseless people. His mother, perhaps the only individual capable of shedding any significant light on her son’s disposition was the first to be silenced. Speculation about her son’s violent behavior will yield inconclusive results at best. Minus the details, we are left only with broad-stroked conjecture and the families of the victims are left with unanswered questions and a lifetime of painful memories. It is likely that not a single day will pass without the parents of these children feeling the pangs of lingering grief.

God never promised that we would know the reasons why bad and terrible things happen on this side of heaven. Try as we do, we will not fully understand the reasons why dark threads are as needful as the threads of gold and silver in the tapestry of our lives until we are able to see it all from heaven’s side. That’s just one of the lessons of the Old Testament book of Job, the story of a good man whose whole world caved in around him when he suffered the loss of all of his children (Job 1:18-19). In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, Job prostrated himself before God in complete and humble submission. Although his heart was broken and throbbing with pain, Job humbly accepted all that had touched his life.

I have thought much about Job and what it must have been like for him to lose all of his children in a single day. Here are a few lessons we can glean from his story of loss.

God is sovereign. | Satan could do no more to Job than God allowed. Regardless of what may touch our lives, God is in control. Regardless of appearances to the contrary, God is in control. Never doubt that, even if you don’t understand how!

God’s ways are beyond ours. | God’s wisdom is infinite and His vantage point is eternal. He is moved by considerations far beyond the scope of our comprehension. Trying to pour His wisdom into our minds would be like trying to pour the ocean into a Dixie cup. Whenever we do not understand, we must trust Him fully and give Him the benefit of the doubt!

God understands tears. | The Bible never instructs us to be stoic when our lives are touched by afflictions. We can grieve when our lives are touched by tragic circumstances. We can and should weep. God understands tears.

Ask God for the wisdom to filter the advice others give you. | Job’s friends were eager to give him theological advice. In the process, they misrepresented God and injured the very person they were trying to help. Be careful lest the advice others are eager to give you serve to demoralize you and weaken your faith.

Don’t allow circumstances to obscure your view of God. | It is easy to allow the clouds of trouble and affliction to obscure our view of God. It is also easy to believe what we “feel” about God rather than what we “know” about God when our lives are torn apart by things or happenings that we do not understand.

Look to God for wisdom. | Look to God for wisdom in times of difficulty. Human wisdom fails. God’s wisdom, contained in His Word, can give us the hope and perspective that we need in order to hang in, hang on, and come through.

Remember that God is able. | There is absolutely nothing that can touch our lives apart from God’s knowledge. God is not surprised or baffled by anything that touches our lives. We must always remember that He is bigger than anything that touches our lives, is better equipped to deal with whatever touches our lives, and knows exactly what to do with everything that touches our lives.

We will understand it better by and by. | We will not always understand why bad things happen to us. However, one day God will make it all clear. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part,” wrote Paul, “but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In the words of the old Gospel song, “We will understand it better by and by.”

We should love and serve God, anyway! | Satan’s assertion in the book of Job was that man serves God only because of the personal benefits he receives. “Remove those blessings,” said Satan, “and a man’s fabric of devotion will quickly unravel.” The book of Job teaches us that God is worthy of our love and devotion, even apart from His blessings to us.


Responses

  1. Omar, we will never understand what took place in Conn. but we can pray for each family involved. And always remember we were placed here to serve a mighty God. Let us draw nearer to Him during this tragic time.


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