Newtown: Praying Through the Tears

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“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Child PrayingI always found that prayer a little morbid especially for children. So, when the time came for me to teach the frog princess a prayer, I used the modified version of that.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May the angels watch me through the night and keep me in their blessed sight. Amen.

Last night, I prayed that first line and then could not make it through the second. Because my thoughts immediately went to those children. Probably having prayed that the night before. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

I have been crying intermittently since I heard the news. Figures that the one day where I’m away from technology for a few hours, something major happens. I think it was good that I didn’t hear right away. The (ex)man was here when I heard. He’s the one that suggested we go get our baby from school.  And I was amazed at how many of us parents had that same instinct. To run to our kids and hold them. Crying as we did because we knew there were parents out there that could not. Twenty sets of parents that could not. Unfathomable.

And almost immediately the questions begin. Why? Why these babies?

Lyndi, one of the moms in my Mom of Faith Facebook group, put up a post addressing the questions because as believers, we look to God at times like this. Here’s some of what she said:

This is a fair question and one that needs to be addressed, especially for any nonbeliever friends we may be talking with. To accept the existence of God ("good"), one must also acknowledge the existence of Satan ("evil"). God has given Satan authority in this world and made him prince of the world (for now.) There are two forces at work around us (good and evil). The down side of this truth is that bad things happen in this broken world. Bad things happen to good people. The up side of this truth is that God promises us (His followers) that "ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). This means that although God has given the devil the authority to cause evil deeds, He will use all of it to benefit the Kingdom of God, and thus us. That's a promise!

Lyndi also reminded us of Job and how Satan thought he could get Job to curse the name of God. If you’ve ever read this part of the bible, you know that when it was all said and done, Job had lost everything (family and possessions alike). His body was covered in boils. And yet, he said “Naked I came from my mother's womb. And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed by the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

The Lord restored Job’s losses as a reward for being a loyal servant (Job 42:10-17).

(from Lyndi)

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

God allows us to experience unpleasant, trying, sometimes terrible things. We have a few promises in scripture that we can (and should) hold onto regarding this reality:

  1. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb 13:5)
  2. He will never give us more than we can handle. (I Cor 10:13)
  3. We can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength. (Phil 4:16)
  4. God can turn any situation, no matter how bad, to work for our good. (Rom 8:28)
  5. God has a plan to prosper us NOT harm us. (Jer 29:11)

"And not only this, but we also exult (rejoice) in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Rom 5:3-5).

When godly people encounter trials and handle them with hope, placing their faith in God, refusing to worry, become anxious, or fret, nonbelievers can observe their story as a testimony to God's love and power to work in our lives. When we let Him use a terrible situation to bring glory and honor to His name, the blessings we receive in return are innumerable. It also bolsters the faith of other believers.

I think that our collective pain is not easily alleviated. And I don’t have the answers. All I can offer are my prayers. For the families, for the Newtown community, for our country. And for each one of the parents who held their kids a little tighter and shed tears for the loss that each and everyone of us can identify with though will never be able to imagine.

And so, I pray through the tears as I hold on to my faith…