I have to be honest and say that I know very few details of what actually happened at that elementary school that day. I've read a couple of internet articles about it, just enough to have a rough idea of the events that took place, but I find that I don't really want to know too many details. I have studiously avoided watching any television accounts of the tragedy ... I pretty much had the house to myself over the weekend, with Brad gone hunting and Bethany spending time with her boyfriend's family ... and the only time I turned on the TV on was to watch the Razorback basketball game in the background while I wrapped presents on Saturday evening. When the Columbine shootings took place in 1999, I watched all the news coverage, and the scenes from that day are still burned into my memory. I do not want these new images in my mind ... so I am insulating myself from it all. Is that the right way to handle this? I don't know, but that's where I'm at.
Part of my job at the elementary school in our little community is to do educational screenings with kindergarten and first grade students three times a year ... in the fall, mid-year, and in the spring. Over the past two weeks, I've been doing the mid-year screenings, and I've spent several hours sitting down one-on-one with these little ones ... listening to them lisping out their ABC's, identifying sounds in words, and making up clever little sentences with words I give them. Each one of them is so beautiful, so innocent, such an amazing creation in the image of God ... The thought of something like that happening to even just one of them is just beyond what I can imagine.
You know, back when Columbine happened, I remember feeling sad for those families. I had a heightened interest in that story because my cousins had graduated from that high school several years previously. In fact, that school was just down the street from where they lived. I tried to imagine what those families were going through, but I just couldn't. So my sorrow for these families was shallow, at best. I just couldn't relate ... I had no idea what it must feel like to have your child suddenly ripped away from you.
I still don't. But now I do know how it feels to receive a phone call that changes your life forever. I know how it feels to plead with God to somehow let your child be a survivor. I know the indescribable pain of realizing you will not see your child again in this life. And as I ponder last Friday's events ... all of those feelings come rushing back as I know what those parents will be experiencing over the next days, weeks, months, and years. So my heart is heavy, so heavy.
Everyone seems to have an opinion ... we need gun control, we need God back in the schools, we need better security, we need to pull our kids out of the public schools and home school them all. Me? I've got nothing. I don't know how we can fix this world we live in ... In fact, I don't think we can. The talking heads and the pundits can debate that stuff all day long (and I'm guessing they are -- yet another reason I'm avoiding the television), but they are not going to solve this kind of problem.
Remember, this is not the first time that innocents have been slaughtered at the hand of sinful men. Herod ordered thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of babies killed right before that first Christmas. And what about the Jewish children murdered in the holocaust, or in the killing fields of Cambodia or Rwanda? And let's not forget the countless babies who never even had the chance to take a breath because they were purposely aborted in their mother's wombs. What a messed-up world we live in!
In the seventh chapter of Daniel, Daniel has a dream, and in it, he has a vision of the Ancient of Days. Here's how he describes Him, starting in verse 9.
"As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened."
That's when this world's problems will be solved. The Ancient of Days will not be mocked. One day all the wrongs of this world will be made right. And days like last Friday make me say, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"