Saturday, December 15, 2012

Incomprehensible Pain

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, 
and forbid them not, to come unto Me:
for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
And He laid His hands on them...."
Matthew 19:14,15
(KJV)

Where were you yesterday when you heard the news?

Chances are, it will be like September 11, 2001...
when, in memory we recall the horror.
Each one of us will remember where we were
and what we were doing...
when news of the tragedy reached our ears....
and settled into our hearts.

I was shopping.
Zachary, Aunt Joyce, and I were enjoying an evening out together.
We were looking at Christmas things...
when the phone inside my purse rang.

It was Kevin, the love of my life.

"Did you hear?
About the children in Connecticut?"

"No, what happened?"
The word "children" immediately awakened a tenderness in me....
that is always close to the surface.
Children are precious....beyond words.
Beautiful, treasured gifts from the hands of a loving God,
entrusted to us...
to love and cherish and protect.

"It's horrible.
A guy went into an elementary school and killed 27 people....
20 of them were children....
between the ages of 5 and 7."
Kevin's voice was shaky.

"What????
Why?????"

I looked at Aunt Joyce.
She was listening.
Horror began to cloud her face....
that had looked so peaceful...
and relaxed....
just a moment before.

There were questions in her eyes, 
so I relayed the story to her 
as Kevin was telling it to me.

My heart felt sick.
That's the only way I know how to describe my emotions...
my feelings....
as Kevin told me more and more of the details.

I have been in a sort-of "media blackout bubble" for the past few weeks.
Before that, I had become so engrossed...
so absorbed...
into everything going on in our nation.
I was so troubled over the divisiveness...
anxiety-ridden over the economy...
burdened over moral decline...
distressed over the steadily increasing omitting of God...the One we need most...
that I decided it was not good for my spiritual or emotional state
to continually feed on the anxious frenzy,
to become so entangled with the affairs of this life.
I sensed that the Holy Spirit had lifted a red flag
convicting me of my lack of moderation,
of my misdirected focus,
of my need to focus on God
and to elevate my eyes above the things that trouble me so.
So, I have backed....way off...
and isolated myself...
from most of what is going on.

I figure if it is something real big...
Kevin or someone else close to me will let me know,
and otherwise I need to keep my eyes on Him...
and on what is important...
in front of me.

It is not that I believe we should bury our heads in the sand
and live in complete denial that world events are taking place.
Not at all.
It is just that I know me....
and God certainly knows me.
And He has shown me that it is in my best interest
and in the best interest of my family...
for me to abstain from a steady diet of negativity 
and obsession about things over which I have absolutely no power to change.

I felt the tears coming...
rushing to my eyes,
as I began to call on the Lord for mercy...
as Kevin's voice broke on the other end of the phone
telling me of how a little boy survivor at the school
had hidden in a locked bathroom with his teacher and classmates
and told them,
"I don't want to die.
I want Christmas."

Oh, dear, precious Lord!
I felt pain shoot straight to the nerve...
of my inmost soul...
as I thought of our little boy...
and how excited he is over Christmas this year...
and every year.

All I could see in my mind 
were all of those parents...
those grandparents....
and the gifts they have already bought and wrapped
and placed under trees...
for those dear, precious, little children...
who are now gone.
Just gone.
Off the scene....of life.

Never to open those gifts.
Never to squeal with delight...
over thoughtful surprises and planned joys.

Our nation reels today....
from the shock....
from the absolute incapability....
to absorb...
what just happened.

Children.
Why, children?
Why, anyone....
but especially why, children?

We'll never know for certain.
For the one who inflicted the wounds,
who pulled the trigger,
is also gone...
never to be questioned....
never to provide the answers....
for which we so desperately seek.

Sense cannot be made of this.
There is no comprehension...
of the parents' pain.

We cry, we pray, and we turn our faces towards Heaven and scream,
"WHY, God?
How?
How could this be?
How could it have been permitted to happen?"

He understands our questions.

We've been scolded all of our lives for asking why....
told we are never to question God...
or what happens in our lives.

I beg to differ.

God created us.
He made us emotional.
He is fully aware of our limited ability to understand.
He instilled within us the capacity to reason.
Therefore, He grasps our incapacity to reconcile the unreasonable.

Jesus questioned His Father....
from the cross.
Remember?

At His point of unbearable pain...
when the weight of the sin was nearing the tipping point...
as each breath sent searing agony through every part of His body....
while He felt His Father's refusal...to look upon Him because of the sin
He had just absorbed upon...unto Himself...
He cried from the cross,
"My God, My God,
why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

Jesus understands.
He comprehends....
our incomprehensible pain.

He loves children....
even more than we do.
He knows how special they are.

One day, He was thronged by a needy crowd.
They were always pressing....
always forcing themselves closer to Him...
invading His space.
That day was no different.

Parents were there.
Loving parents...
who treasured their children.
They wanted Him to bless them....
to look at them....
to touch them.

Who wouldn't have?
What parent in their right mind wouldn't have traveled however far they needed to
in order to have Jesus place His hand upon their head?
Can you blame them?
For intruding that day?

I sure can't.

I can picture them pressing through the crowd,
"Hurry, Jacob!
It is Him...up ahead!
We must work our way through.
I can see Him!
Come, Aaron....Ruth...Reuel....Salome!
We're almost there!"

Anxious parents...
rushing ahead...
pulling the hands of their children....
tired from the journey....
hoping they make it...
before He moves on.

"Ah!  We're here now!
Let's move closer...
so He can see you...
and give you a special blessing!"

Hope springs in their hearts!
Only to be crushed soon after.

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them:
and his disciples rebuked those that brought them."
Mark 10:13

Someone is turning them away...
scolding them harshly...
for bothering the Master!

Strong, burly men....
the ones surrounding Him.
They speak to them as if they...and their children....are unimportant....
as if He has much more needful business to tend to.

But, what about Salome and Rei and Ezra?
Just look at them!
Such disappointment....
shining in their big, brown, hopeful eyes.

The men don't seem to notice.
So intent are they...
on shielding their Master....
from such trifling, insignificant matters.

Sadly, they start to turn away...
from the scathing rebuke...
the rough tones...
of the followers of Him...
Who is so kind.

But, wait!
He heard!
He is turning to look at them.
He sees them!
The whole scene...
the tears of disappointment...
spilling down the cheeks...
of the little children.
The hurt in the parents' eyes.
The echoes of sharp words still hanging in the air...
spewed in anger...
from His disciples' lips.

"But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, 
and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
Mark 10:14

He is troubled!
Over the strong rebuke they've received.
His arms are wide open.
His smile seems a mile wide.
He knows how far they've traveled.
He is aware of every, single detail
of each of their individual situations.

Turn them away?
Never!

He beckons.
"Come to Me!"

Slowly...
shyly...
they look towards the twelve men...
who only moments before dealt with them....so harshly.
Then all eyes are upon Jesus...
as they take a first step...
in His direction.

He seizes the opportunity.
His disciples need to learn.
Nothing in the world is more important...
than this.

He speaks.
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, 
he shall not enter therein."
Mark 10:15

Profound wisdom...
falls from His lips....
as it always does.

"And He took them up in His arms, 
put His hands upon them, 
and blessed them."
Mark 10:16

How precious the scene!
How kind, our Savior!
He took time for the children.
He made time for them.
He knew how valuable they are...
how important....
how necessary to our lives.

Can you see Him?

He welcomes them...
draws them close...
every, last one of them...
individually.
He looks at them.
He listens to them.
There is love in His eyes,
such as the parents have never seen.
What the fathers fail to realize,
is that He has been their Father...
longer than they have.
What the mothers can't comprehend,
is that He loves them...
 even more than they do.
Tenderly He lifts them...one at a time...
until every last child has had a turn....
of being held....
 in the arms of God.

Yesterday, 20 little children in Connecticut ran...
straight into those arms.

He was there....
waiting for them....
arms wide open....
a smile as bright as the sun.

Had there been anyone there seeking to turn them away,
to say He was too busy,
to deem them unimportant,
they would have soon learned that to Him...
there is no one more important in the whole world.

He weeps with the parents who now weep....
the grandparents who long and yearn...
to kiss them just one...more...time.
His tender, loving heart goes out to them...
with all of the love in His being.
Every tear that falls,
every scream that pierces the deafening silence of houses left too quiet,
every moment of overwhelming grief in hearts that are broken...bleeding,
none of it is missed....
by Him.

Those 20 little angels are with Him now....
safe and secure...
far from the reach of mortal violence.
Worlds apart from the emotion of fear....
the threat of danger....
the range of terror

Never again will they cry,
for His kind, loving hand wipes all tears from their eyes.
They'll never die again...
for they have gained eternal life.

He will hold them in His arms....
forever.
He will never put them down....
"for of such is the Kingdom of God."



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