May You Rest in Peace

Gone Too Soon, Little Angels of God

Jim Allen

With the stunning news reports from the Newtown, CT massacre of December 14, 2012 still fresh in our minds, how can we make sense of twenty precious, innocent lives snuffed out by a madman? How can one person possess hatred so intense that it consumes his soul, driving him to do the unthinkable?

President Obama, although visibly shaken and tearful about the tragic event, found strength to say, "The majority of those who died today were children—beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten-years-old. They had their entire lives ahead of them—birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." [1]

After hearing about the massacre, my wife and I were equally shaken. With mournful hearts, we fought back tears, realizing these little ones were innocent in thought, word, and deed. They were blameless. They knew nothing of this kind of evil and hatred. Their parents sent them to school, believing their day would be filled with the wonder of living, learning, and discovering the beautiful things in life. They never imagined such evil existed and could come their way, but it did.

With the growing global turmoil and endless domestic issues besieging us at every turn, our souls cringe and our minds labor to pull clarity from confusion such as this. We struggle to find meaning in a world operating with indifference. Our minds have a hard time grappling with answers to these questions. We do not always understand why things turn out as they do (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

God's watchful eye is on our daily walk like a mother hovering over a toddler (Psalm 121:8). Falling and getting up seems to be part of the divine plan with lessons to learn along the way. God knew about the deadly intent of the Newtown killer. God saw these little ones fall that morning. He knew they would not get up. Our minds must scream, "Why did God allow it?" If there is a lesson in this heartbreaking massacre, then it will be among the most difficult for many to learn.

The Bible tells us God is sovereign and capable of preventing evil, but that He allows it for purposes far transcending our ability to understand. Psalm 7:11 says, "God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day." Yes, God is outraged by what happened on December 14, 2012. God abhors all acts of evil—especially those on the innocent (Isaiah 59:7).

However, God's ways are far above the thoughts and ways of men (Isaiah 55:8-9). Men have, are, and will continue to reject the protective hand of God (Proverbs 14:7). Since the mid-1960s, men in America have sought to remove God and the Ten Commandments from public institutions. Has God lifted His hand of divine protection from America? Or are His reasons for allowing this tragedy higher than we could ever imagine? And if we knew, would it ever be a "good enough" reason? Truthfully, any reason God might give would never be good enough for us—not at the cost of twenty innocent lives. The human mind can scarcely fathom such an evil as being used for good, but our understanding of the world is finite. God sees every minute of our lives from an eternal perspective.

God has chosen to create a real world with real choices and real consequences. In this real world, our actions touch others in a real way. [2] Because of Adam's choice to sin, the world lives in sin and will continue to witness such massacres (Romans 5:12). Because of one young man's corrupted mind, 26 people died in Newtown. While the death of these little ones tugs on every heart, we cannot begin to imagine the pain and cries of anguish from the families impacted by this brutal mass murderer. But the problem is much bigger and deeper than one depraved man.

The Bible teaches the heart of mankind is a deep pit of evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:28). I am reminded of the people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima who were vaporized by the atomic bomb in 1945. Men, women and children, both young and old, were ferociously destroyed by a nation that prints "In God We Trust" on its currency. The Japanese children who died in the atomic holocaust that Sunday morning were innocent, knowing neither the ways of war nor the disputes among nations. These children were no different from those who died in Newtown. They were just kids learning about the wonder and joy of life, interrupted by evil.

What is the lesson from the tragedies in our recent and past history? God is sovereign (Psalm 104:1). God is all knowing (Isaiah 55:9). If a sparrow falling to the ground commands the eye of God (Matthew 10:29), then imagine His eye upon a young child who falls from an assassin's bullet.

Jesus told us trouble would come (John 16:33). Part of the lesson is to learn we will not always understand why things happen as they do (Proverbs 3:5). Even more so, this lesson includes recognizing that God enters into our struggle and sorrow in a personal way. Jesus has paid a heavy price for abiding in our hearts (John 15:5). The Savior drinks the bitter cup of our anguish, knowing and feeling the pain of each heart that trusts in Him. God is not removed from our troubled lives.

Be assured that these little ones, and those with faith in Christ Jesus, are in glory (Matthew 19:14). Although they did not get up from where they fell in school on that terrible day, God did not leave them there. Glorious angels descended from above to lift them up. For these little ones, earth is a childhood memory that now seems like a distant dream. Their new life in Heaven far transcends the former life they could have known on earth. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, and kids of their own would all have been good, but now those things have been wholly replaced by the grander things of Heaven (1 Corinthians 2:9). In this certainty, we can find comfort.

[1] An Emotional Obama -
[2] Why Does God Allow Evil? -

Image Credit: Dave Barger; Sandy Hook Memorial; Creative Commons

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Published 12-18-12