It even feels hypocritical reading that title.
Especially since my wife and I struggled for so long and had to go through so much just to have our beautiful kids. We should wake up every day and thank God for every second we have with them.
But I don’t.
I get upset about my son not sleeping, frustrated with my daughter for not paying attention, grumpy when Aniston is whiny, and at my whits end when Easton won’t calm down unless you bounce him. Heck, we even go so far as to complain with other parents about our respective kids and all the headaches they give us. It’s as if we are doing these kids a favor by being their parents.
All that seemed normal and “what every parent does”…until Friday…until 9:00 am December 14, 2012…until innocence was lost…until the unthinkable happened…until “normal” didn’t make sense anymore.
Sadly, it took a young man draped in evil walking into an elementary school and shattering all the rules of morality for me to look at my kids differently. To look at life differently. To look at the world differently.
As I’m sure many of you did, I left work a little quicker that day and didn’t bother to stop by the local drive-thru for an iced tea on the way home. I didn’t take the route that “might be faster” just to see what would happen. No, I went home as fast as I could.
When I got through the doors I kissed my wife, hugged my daughter as we watched Doc McStuffins, and l looked at my son while he drooled on my face. Through glassy eyes clouded with tears I smiled at what God had given me and begged for His forgiveness.
Gone were the thoughts of fatigue or frustration towards my kids because an overwhelming sense of blessing had filled those spaces. I realized in that moment what was important, what I could no longer brush past, and what I needed to NEVER take for granted again.
However, in that moment of reflection and vulnerability something also became crystal clear.
My family is not running away.
We will not place our children in a figurative or literal bubble to shield them from the challenges of this world. I am the proud son of two public school teachers and I will be the proud father of children in the public schools. We will still go to movies, shop at malls, and go to amusement parks. We will travel on planes, drive in cars, and visit foreign lands. We will play in public, worship in public, and work for the public for the reason is simple.
As Christians, this is what God has called us to do and this is what God himself did.
God did not shy away from the evil of this world. He pressed into it with His full weight and full force sending His very best in Jesus. God’s plan was never a plan of retreat but one of attack. An attack led by Love.
The natural tendency is to ask the question of “Why?” when tragedies like this happen. It’s our attempt to understand and reconcile our brains to what just took place so we can neatly package it to explain later. Howeve,r there are times in life where we may never know the Why because the answer can only be summed up by the fact Evil still roams this earth.
And our attempt to justify evil will always come up empty.
Ironically the pursuit of understanding happiness and evil have a similar end result. Like nailing jello to the wall the second you think you have it nailed down your happiness will change or the evil we seek to understand will morph again leaving us chasing mirages.
I pray we do not waste so much energy chasing down fleeting answers to question of evil, but rather harness all we have into pursuing the Light and being light.
Jesus said in Matthew 15:14-16
““You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
In times where evil seems to bubble to the surface of life and overflow into our worlds we must fight the urge to retreat. We cannot insulate ourselves in fear and place ourselves in a self-made cocoon of insecurity.
Instead, as Christians we must stand tall, find the highest point we can, and shine Light in the face of darkness. We must point to the One that has come to overcome all evil and will never back down for a second.
I know there is pain, I know there are questions, I know there is anger at the evil that was done. Jesus knows too and feels our pain, but only He can do something with it and He has. He nailed it to a cross, broke the chains of death, and kicked Evil in the teeth for you and for me. Evil may appear to win in this broken world, but it never will win in the World that counts.
I leave you my friends not with my words, but with Words from the Creator of the Universe Himself and the One that has and will always triumph over evil.
And the One who I will never take for granted.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33