Mass killings and missing children – When tragedy and trauma impact our communities and make the headlines, we are naturally driven to questions of why.
· Why would anyone go to a movie theatre and intentionally attempt to kill dozens of people who have done nothing to provoke such senseless violence?
· Why are children, the most vulnerable of our communities, abducted and taken away from their homes and families, creating fear for their safety and the safety of all children?
· Where is God when evil deeds and reckless acts interrupt our daily lives?
· Can we explain random violence and plots of destruction, violence, and homicide?
· What, if changed today, would make a positive difference preventing or reducing these particular acts of violence?
We are a nation quick to point fingers and blame, at the same time expecting quick solutions, when the truth is no easy answers exist. While no simple solutions nor biblical platitudes bring solace and comfort to those who suffer the most, we must not give up hope.
Evil acts that affect human beings and our relationships with others are much different than tragedies resulting from natural acts (weather related or accidental in origin). Does violence as a normative in society give way to extreme violence? Does self-gratification as a primary drive in human character give way to the violation of boundaries of self-discipline and assault against others?
Reconciling God’s love and omnipotence with the existence and repeated occurrences of evil lived out in violent acts is, in part, a problem raised in theodicy. Can justice, good, love, and evil all exist in the same place?
I still find occasion to weep and cry aloud when death occurs and children remain missing. I want things to be different, as in no more child abductions or assaults, nor innocent people being shot at schools, malls, or movie theatres.
I pray God will comfort those in greatest need. I pray God will heal those whose wounds that are visible and invisible to us.
I cling to the belief that love is more powerful than hate and has a much longer lifespan.
Mental health concerns and gun violence are worthy of discussion and debate. However, we all have the capacity to care enough to pray and press our claim for a world with less violence and more love, less indifference and more compassion.
“Dear God, bring healing to those in pain and make your presence in our lives instrumental in healing and transforming the world.”
Bishop Julius C. Trimble