by Elizabeth DeBarros
In light of the heartbreaking news of the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I offer this post. My first consideration was to say nothing, but the urgency of the hour compels me to share what is burning in my heart. Soli Deo Gloria.
Inherent to true north is that it provides knowledge of more than just one direction, but it’s the only one you really need to know if you’re lost. It’s the same for the times in which we live. Having a Biblical grid and a sure course to follow in this postmodern, post-truth, post-trauma era is as much a moral imperative as it’s ever been.
But the usual signposts are either missing or they’re wrong. Something else is happening.
Our children are dying. Tender lambs. Innocents are being taken out by deranged, cold-blooded murderers on an otherwise sunny day. Media bears the responsibility of getting the facts straight before it’s news, but tragedy of such proportions demands answers beyond gathered data. Names and numbers are helpful, but they do not heal.
Therein lies the burden to understand why.
When society suffers ills unspeakable, it’s crucial to know it’s not mere happenstance. Nor is it the “cycle of life” and “better days are coming.” Anecdotal band-aids soon fall off. Random is not a meaningful word when blood is smeared on the walls and spilled on the floors of theaters, malls, and classrooms. We must do something. Death has come up into our windows, now at our door. Light is gone from our eyes as we look on the carnage streaming from our electronic devices. Grief is now public domain.
It’s reasonable to ask why. It’s unconscionable not to. Meantime, the sensitive strong offer much-needed calm and hugs of consolation while opportunists aim hard at their targets to further their agenda. But we are post-debate. Guns or no guns, beds are empty tonight. Photos are all that’s left, and cherished memories have a way of haunting still. But they’ll have to do. They don’t, though. Death is not a friend. It’s the last enemy.
The times call for something greater to be done. Silence and reflection is a place to start. May it lead to groans of deep repentance and a return to the ancient paths where one learns to bow the knee and, once there, bows lower still.
And then stays there.
The children are dying. They’ve been dying a long time, long before yesterday’s shedding of blood. It’s been running upon the pelvic floors of millions of women and the gloved hands of the salaried few. Smokestacks testify to their evil deeds; conscientious men and women rally to expose them. And God has heard the screams of both while men faint for what is coming upon the earth. The sirens have been sounding for a long time. Rebellion. Disorder. Disregard for Divine authority. We are now post-alarm. The deaf do not hear the message: the life of the flesh is in the blood.
But for those who have ears, so can be heard Malachi’s prophetic cry:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
—Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV)
Children need fathers who will bow the knee to find strength to carry their sons. Divine authority begins with submission, Divine order ends in blessing. But the redefinition and obliteration of the family does not. Such weighty realities to face if we’re to endure this illustrative age, this bowl of rotten fruit on a table where maggots lay their eggs.
Our death culture upon which multitudes feast has come to bear this: the revelation of a fatherless generation.
May we dare to bow the knee, then bow lower still. Find true north.
Perhaps we will heal.