I struggle not to be undone by the passage of time. It’s been three weeks since the SPU shooting. This past Easter marked the 15-year anniversary of the Columbine High shootings. I wasn’t at the school, but I remember the eight-hour lockdown and then finding out “what happened” on the news (most of which we now know was inaccurate). I remember it every time images from yet another school shooting scream across screens nationwide. We know this has to stop. We know this can’t go on. In a very real way, we are all Columbine…becoming more so as time passes. We also know there are no easy answers (sorry for the cliche) even when we refuse to ask the difficult questions.
It is hard to know how to go on. We do, of course; time doesn’t give a choice. And in some ways, we don’t. We’re still having the same conversations about how to stop gun violence even as we’re still – all of us – suffering its effects. Some just happen to be more vocal about it than others…which looks like harping, or beating a dead horse or not moving forward. I rejoice with the survivors of Columbine who have made full recoveries, who have gone on to exciting careers and marriages and families even as I grieve with those whose were lost and those still haunted by the darkness of that day in otherwise quiet, suburban Littleton in 1999.
Lord, to be honest, I don’t know how to move forward. I also don’t know why – how can the point be to “move on” when we’re clearly failing our children? You know it’s not just innocent children dying at school. For me, it’s the grievous state of the planet – the devastation is too painful and crazy-making for me to name here. I wonder why You put up with it. I wonder when You’ll say “enough” and clean up this grinding, maddening mess. I wonder how You can stand to watch the pummeling, unrelenting destruction of all that You have made. What is the point? I am angry. I am powerless. Why do You permit such abounding evil?
And yet I do not turn away. Though I am furiously heartbroken, I say with Simon Peter, ““Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It is not just about keeping the commandments, that I shall have no other gods before You (Exodus 20:3), it is that there are no other gods. I have a hard time even wanting to understand Your ways sometimes, God. But where else would I go? Ultimately, the only answer to what seems like unrelenting destruction and death is eternal life and You are the only one who has the words of eternal life. Knowing You is eternal life; there are no other gods. So I will wait for You, sometimes only because I have no other choice. So I will turn to You, sometimes if only because there are no other gods. So “though [You] slay me, I will hope in [You]” (Job 13:15).