I’m not often serious here on the blog. I figure you all have enough serious in your life without me adding to it. My goal is usually to provide a little entertainment, a smile, maybe something you didn’t know before. But sometimes things affect me so, that I have to write about it even if the tone of the blog turns somber. I did it a couple years ago when I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. And I’m doing it again today.
The funerals in Newtown have been going on all week and I find that a moment of silence is not enough for me to deal with the unspeakable tragedy that happened there last Friday. We writers write to try to make sense of the world, so please bear with me while I work through a few things.
When horrific events take place, inevitably if we believe in a loving God, we ask where He was while the unthinkable was happening. It seems impossible to reconcile the evil in the world with a God who is good. In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite authors, gives vent to his sense of loss over his wife’s death by calling God a “cosmic sadist” and the “Eternal vivisector.”
I understand his anger and I don’t think God blames him for his honest expression of pain.
I don’t have everything wrapped up in a bow. I struggle with this even as I try to find the words. But the only answer I can come up with for the paradox of a loving God and an evil world is that it was not always so. We live in an abnormal universe. By our own choice.
It has to do with the manner of beings I believe we are. To my horror, I have free will. And so does every other soul on the planet. For good or ill, the world is as we have made it.
Could God intervene? Yes. So why doesn’t He? Because either we are beings with free will or we are predetermined puppets. It’s not a satisfying answer to the conundrum, but it’s all I have.
I’ve ached over the fact that this tragedy will forever taint the holidays for the families involved. But then I remembered that the slaughter of the innocents is part of the original Christmas story, albeit one we don’t like to talk about much.
The magi from the east were probably Zoroastrians who had studied the stars and had access to the Book of Daniel. They knew a king had been born in Israel and sought him in the palace of Herod. The king wouldn’t chance a new rule challenging him, so he ordered all the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem murdered in an effort to kill the One the magi sought.
“In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matthew 2:18
This year, Ramah is Newtown, CT. And God weeps with us.