Rejoicing and Weeping

My heart aches.  The 1,866.5 miles between St. John’s School and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is but a tenuous breath.

In a heart beat, while watching children reenact the birth of the Prince of Peace, in walked evil.  In the last few hours, the news has numbered some twenty precious gifts stolen. The lives lost are counted by tens while the tears number in the millions.   Add the servant hearted adults included in the murderous scene and it becomes even more senseless.

I do not know what to say to “make it all better.”  Even the concept that God will make all this “work together for good” is, at this moment,, simply unfathomable.  In faith, I believe, but my whelmed emotions, fail to grasp.  The only refuge I have is God’s Word.  The verse that rises to the surface in a transient burst of clarity is “Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice!”  (Romans 12:21)

A portion of the tears are those of joy!  Parents who feared the worst celebrate with tears of joy!  These families wake from the nightmare mostly unscathed.   Lots of hugs, lots of tears!   We rejoice with these who rejoice!  Hallelujah!

But what of those whose bad dreams have become a stark reality?  How does one console the inconsolable?  The best we can offer today is to “weep with those who weep.”  We have a God who understands tears and death.  In a wondrous Imageblur of His humanity and divinity, Jesus  cries out to the crying.  The same God who weeps over Jerusalem is the same God who weeps with a Connecticut elementary school.

Life is filled with the extremes of joy and sorrow, victory and defeat. But we have been given the privilege of entering into those moments in people’s lives to see the grace of God at work.   Right now, forget the words and open your heart.  Embrace those who are happy!   In the same way, cleave to those wracked by sobs.

Lord, give me sensitivity
To people in their grief and pain,
To weep with them and show Your love
In ways mere words cannot attain. —Sper
I remember hearing about the military chaplain who, at the funeral of a soldier killed in action, went up to the dead soldier’s weeping father, embraced him in his strong arms, held him close, and whispered in the father’s ear, “Let me take some of your pain.” Then the chaplain held on while the father sobbed, finally releasing some of his pent-up grief and sorrow.

That’s compassion in action: walking with someone through their situation, identifying with them, feeling what they are feeling – whatever it is. That’s what God has done for us in Christ. He became like us in every respect except sin.  Our God weeps with both the uplifted and the down-hearted.  The invitation is now open for us to do the same.

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