The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is prompting an outpouring of beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth throughout the nation. Some are trying to make political hay, using the disaster to fight for a favorite piece of legislation. I find that disgusting. Others, though, are questioning the power and goodness of God. Why did He not intervene? If there is a God at all, then why does such evil exist? Surely children are worthy of His protection?
I won’t deal with the politics but I would like to address the questions about God.
In the 1200’s, the Mongol Horde emerged from the East to conquer the largest contiguous land mass in human history. They did so with superior generalship, fighting skill, tactics and logistics. In addition, they were the foremost practitioners of terror in their day. It was their custom to wipe out every person in a town that dared to resist them. This was a warning to the others. It interests me that historians commend the Mongols for their use of this tactic because it eliminated sizable resistance, causing most other towns in Eurasia to surrender without a fight. What is forgotten is that children were the victims of this cruelty as well.
Stalin killed between 20 million and 60 million people depending on how much blame to attach to him. Many of those were children.
Hitler killed about 11 million and again many were children. Mao Zedong is thought to have outdone both of these horrors.
There have been massacres on every continent and they still happen in Africa and parts of Asia regularly without the benefit of daily coverage by the American media. Children continue to suffer disproportionately.
My point is that we question the silence of God at Sandy Hook and yet we forget to question His silence throughout history. Either God is evil and is pleased with the incredible human suffering under His watch or He has another plan. If He is impotent to stop the suffering then He is not God at all. I won’t address that latter possibility here.
God loves freedom. His plan is to restore freedom for mankind some day. Right now we are slaves to sin, evil, death and deceit. Thankfully we can see a modicum of freedom from sin in Christ even now. The others will come. God takes no pleasure in sin and evil on this earth as is evidenced by the tears of Jesus in John 11 at the grave of Lazarus.
Yet were He to act to save the children at Sandy Hook, how does He explain His inaction towards the other children throughout history who were also overtaken by evil? It seems to me that He is satisfied with having redeemed those children and given them eternal life with Him where they will never know evil again.
God allows evil to continue to freely do it’s will on this earth because, so long as He does, mankind has the opportunity to repent and believe. Once He shuts the door on evil altogether, then the door will shut permanently for the salvation of mankind. He seems to be in no hurry at the moment but the time will come when evil will stand before the throne of heaven and the final gavel will thunder it’s judgment forever. Until then, we bear the ravages of wickedness like that of Sandy Hook Elementary at Newtown, Connecticut.
2 Peter 3 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (NASB)