Advent Week Three {tears for newtown}

Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord, your God, is with you,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you… {Zephaniah 3:16-18}

What a word to be reading on Sunday, when Friday brought us to our knees. We hear a promise of disaster expunged, but for now, we’re buried by calamity. A quieting love — one day perhaps. But for so many, grief’s cacophony splits the soul.

Last night, while looking through some old files on a hard drive, I found a ten minute montage I’d saved, a string of old voicemail messages from Wyatt and Seth when they were three and four. The boys would call me while I was at work or away on a trip. “Daddy, I love you,” a tinny young voice crackled. “When you get home, can we go for a bike ride?” Tears came as I remembered these beautiful days, and more tears came as I remembered that for too many Sandy Hook families, these mementos are all they have left.

I could only think of my two boys, of the sorrow these fathers and mothers know. And I could only think of another child, a mere babe, who was born into a world where a madman murdered innocent children by the thousands. I could only think of a poor, blessed mother who would see her son’s life snuffed out before her very eyes. This son, this mother, know grief. They know the savagery of injustice. They weep.

They, better than most I must believe, know the promise that disaster will be relieved. They also know how much pain and suffering we will endure between here and there.

This suffering God. This is the God who is with us.