Unanswered Prayers

I can not think about it.

I can not let myself think about it.

But still, it creeps in. My minds tries to push it out with its entire weight. Like when I act on an impulse to rearrange a room by myself, and I try to move a bookshelf full of books using my whole body because I don’t want to be bothered with removing each piece and re-shelving it.

I can not have these images in my mind. Not when I look upon my children’s faces, faces that are of the same ages as those tiny victims. I can not look upon my children and imagine the horror that raced within those children. I can not feel my imagined grief knowing it could never mirror the gut-twisting, bone-weakening, heart-strangulating, living hell that has enveloped those parents. I just can’t.

Yet I do. Because I am a parent. Because I am a human. There is not one person who can hear of the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and not be touched…except perhaps the kind of person who would do this in the first place.

MEDION DIGITAL CAMERATonight, my mom said very simply, “None of those children will ever come home from school.” And it made me so sad. Ironically, that is the exact moment I heard about the shooting. When my child was coming home from school. The only television that got any air time at my house today was Nickelodeon, so when a friend of mine mentioned it as we stood in the school’s parking lot waiting for dismissal, I had had no idea. I didn’t even know the whole story yet. All I knew was that my children both came home from school.

Tonight after I put my daughter and son to bed, I silently prayed over them, as I do on most nights. God protect them always. I bet those parents in Connecticut have prayed those same words over their children. Unanswered prayers. It is so easy to wonder about unanswered prayers.

But I can not think about it.

I can not let myself think about it.

Beyond that, I can not think of anything else to say. But I did read something today that was about the only thing I felt I could hold onto in regards to tragedies like this. Thank you Matt Chambers at Ethoshift for your wisdom:

“[I]f you were to ask me during the greatest moments of my life exactly how and why it happened, why God chose that moment…that person…that circumstance…I’d never be able to explain it. It’s like trying to stare directly into the brightest spotlight to try and see the very center of the lightbulb. You just can’t do it. You know the light is there, you know you are in its beam, but it’s simply impossible to look into the center of it while it’s shining…

…[I]f you were to ask me during the most horrific moments of my life exactly where God was…why he didn’t stop what happened…how he could let it happen in the first place…I’d never be able to explain it. It’s like standing at the bottom of an abyss and trying to figure out exactly where the darkness begins. You know the darkness is there, you know it’s there because light is absent, but you’ll never be able to completely understand why…or how to get out.

Somewhere along the way, I imagine we’ve misunderstood the exact relationship between Heaven and earth. While a small minority are quite at peace with their understanding of it, I’d say the vast majority of us will struggle and wrestle with this for our entire lives.

While we grapple with and attempt to cling harder to our faith, there will always be a portion of it that in these moments is impossible to understand, explain, or describe. All I know is, every day around the world, tragedy like this happens. When it’s far away from us, it’s easier to stomach, but the closer it gets, the more vulnerable we feel, and it forces us to raise the questions we never wanted to talk about.

Yet, here we are…asking…begging for answers, and somehow still know that the answers we’re begging for probably won’t ever come. Besides, even if someone was able to provide an explanation of some sort, would it really help? I’m convinced explanations don’t magically end grief, or bring back people we love who have been taken away far earlier than we ever would have imagined.

This is a scenario when explanations are pointless. It doesn’t matter how genius the theology is or how many Bible verses we quote. This is that space that’s beyond anything we’re ever prepared to answer for. And that’s probably for the best. Most of us are experts at trying to fix things, but fall far short when it comes time to simply walking with people through their darkest or brightest days.”

Excerpts were taken from Matt Chamber’s post, “Where is God When 20 Children Are Murdered?”