When news of the vicious and tragic deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut came across my desk Friday morning, I sat and cried. Stunned. Thinking of my own two children who were in their own school settings. Imagining what this would do to the families of the victims. Praying.
I speak and write often about children at risk. Children who senselessly die around the globe every day as a result of poverty or poverty related preventable diseases–18,000 every 24 hours. And certainly these children are at risk. But I am convinced that ALL CHILDREN ARE AT RISK.
Children living in third-world poverty around the globe are at risk, and children living in your local community are at risk. Unfortunately, the children living in our own homes are at risk. All children are at risk.
There is a poverty that comes from children enduring the hopelessness caused by having too little and there is a poverty that comes from the spiritual emptiness of children having too much. There are lurking dangers for children in countries where they are unprotected from predators who would love nothing more than to seduce, abuse and enslave them. And there are lurking dangers for children in countries where violent programming, family disruption and narcissism would love nothing more than to capture, corrupt and pervert them. All children are at risk.
This is what I believe
*When a child dies, God’s heart is the first to break. The horrible shootings that occurred in Newtown WERE NOT God’s will. They were the will of a young man who had believed the lies of the Evil One. When a child dies of starvation in Africa it is not God’s will. It is the result of those of us who have more than enough turning a blind eye to the needs of others.
*God is in control. When tragedies take place, one of the first questions asked is, “Where is God?” God is where He has always been . . . right beside you. He will never leave you and He will never forsake you. He was with the children in the classroom and they are with Him now. The only thing an event like Newtown proves is that God allows humans to have freedom of choice. Freedom to choose love or freedom to choose hate.
*We have a responsibility. The responsibility to provide clean, safe drinking water for the 15 children who died around the world while you were reading this post (one every 8 seconds). The responsibility to provide a nurturing home where a husband loves his wife in the same way that Christ loves the church. The responsibility to say “yes” and the responsibility to say “no” to children struggling to understand God’s boundaries for their life. The responsibility to pray for children in China, pray for children in North Korea, pray for children as you pass them at the bus stop and pray for children as you tuck them into bed.
*Death does not win. Because God watched as humanity murdered His only Son, Jesus, God’s Son defeated death so that one day there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more shootings, no more pain. Death has been defeated. We may mourn, but we do not mourn like those who have no hope. We may live in a broken world, but we live as agents of God’s healing. All children may be at risk, but like those 6 Newtown adults who gave their lives to protect the children entrusted into their care, we must be willing to give our lives to protect the children–all the children–entrusted into our care.