Revelations: No need to ask why?
BY JENNIFER PREYSS
"Why would God let this happen?"
It's a question I've heard discussed at various roundtables this week, regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
It's a fair question, I suppose.
People often ponder God's involvement, or lack of involvement, when great tragedies occur - especially when they steal the lives of innocent children.
Too many mass shootings have occurred in the past few years.
Innocents have died; their killers made celebrities in the media.
But the Sandy Hook shooting seemed different somehow.
Perhaps because this time, the victims were precious children.
They were murdered in their classrooms.
They were sprayed with bullets from weapons suited for war-zone combat.
Their shooter, Adam Lanza, could have used any number of weapons to carry out his murderous acts. And he chose to use guns on 6- and 7-year-old children.
The kids' last moments were likely filled with confusion and terror, magnified by their adolescent inability to understand fully what was happening around them.
It's a thought so horrific, so evil, I have trouble allowing myself to think about it too long.
Personally, I don't want to know the "why" behind the shooting. I don't care to know what defense forensic and psychological experts determine about Lanza's mental condition. I don't care what relationship he had with his mother, or abuse he may have suffered.
There is no explanation that would justify his actions, or bring back his victims.
But that's me.
I understand why others are seeking to know why.
I understand why people are blaming assault rifles and why they're posting anti-gun messages on Facebook.
And I understand why people are discussing God's hand in the shooting.
I think people should discuss the shootings, and pray to God if they feel they need answers. I think they should be angry and vocal and attempt to use this massacre as a catalyst for change.
But I hope no one decides that God somehow desired, or orchestrated these acts.
He is a God of love and peace, and the God I serve does not concert such acts.
They happen because man is flawed, sin-natured, and in some cases, mentally ill.
They happen because man is not God's puppet, and he makes decisions independent of his moral compass.
They happen because men and women are fallen, living in an imperfect and fallen place.
They happen because instead of helping, connecting with and including "socially awkward" people like Lanza (and James Holmes, of the Aurora, Colo., shooting; Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold; or Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho) we usually ignore and exclude them.
So while I may still struggle to make sense of evil acts, or those perpetrating them, I don't spend a lot of time asking God to explain to me why things like this happen, or why he didn't intervene.
It may not always make sense but in this environment of free will, I know God is not the enemy. He did not pull the trigger.
I trust he is interceding now on behalf of his children, providing comfort and shelter and love for those living and those who died tragically at Sandy Hook.
Maybe one day the "why?" will be answered.
Until then, God says, "In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world."
That's all the "why" I need.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.