Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hope for Newtown

I'm still processing the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  I don't know that we'll ever make "sense" of what happened, but there are a few things I do know for sure.  I hurt for the moms that can't hug their babies tonight.  I'm reminded several times a day of the absence they must feel when I look at my girls and imagine if they were taken from me.  This event has rocked a nation.  But, this event is not a political platform.  Although many have tried to make it such.  I've seen numerous posts about Sandy Hook that have nothing to do with the school.  They are filled with a rhetoric of blame and pointing fingers.

Some are blaming God and actually believe that God himself killed those innocent victims as punishment for the world of sin.  If you want to find the real hate in the world, read the comments at the end of news articles.  I've seen things like "Hey Christians, where was your God that day? Where is he now?" I personally believe my God helped teachers lead their classes to safety. I believe my God was guarding the eyes of the children at the school.  I believe my God is holding the families that are left behind to grieve, tight in His grip.  I believe He is cradling 20 first graders in heaven and weeping for a world that has turned from Him.

I've heard people say that gun control is to blame for this massacre.

I've heard people say that he had an autism spectrum disorder that went untreated.

I've heard people say that God has been removed from our public schools, so homeschool is the answer.

I've heard people relate this event to abortion.

They're all wrong.

This tragedy was caused by one thing: evil.

Gun control cannot stop evil.  Only God can.
Treating disorders cannot stop evil.
Homeschooling does not stop evil.  (And I would argue that Jesus goes to public school every day in the hearts of my children and lots of others).

I cannot imagine what it would be like to send my first grader to school and have her not return. But I do know how much joy a first grader brings because I have one.  I can also imagine that no amount of hateful or blaming rhetoric would ever bring her back or bring me solace in my grief.   Only God can do that.

So maybe just this once we can step off the soapbox and get on our knees.

Maybe just this once we can be light in a dark world by showing love.

Maybe just this once we can say "I will pray" and truly mean it.

Maybe just this once we can share HOPE and not blame.

Let your words lead people to the only place of true peace and comfort and a knowledge of an incredible eternity. And then stop there.

"May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O God" Psalm 19:14

Offer Christ without a caveat.  Because you cannot heal hurt with hate.  Only God can.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Today they will gather and celebrate his life.  They will talk about how wonderful he was and how much he will be missed.  They will use words like "legacy" and "pillar of faith." I know there will be tears, but mostly I hope that there is joy.  When CS Lewis said "We do not have a soul.  We ARE a soul; we have a body" he was right.  Our bodies are just temporary, but our souls are eternal.

I have no doubt that my grandfather is rejoicing in heaven with Jesus (and his parents and brothers and sister and ALL those that have gone before him that he had a part in their salvation).  So we should be rejoicing too. We should rejoice for the time that we were given on earth with him.  We should rejoice that we have memories we can cherish.  We should rejoice that we are part of a heritage of faith.

Someone asked me last week what my favorite memory of my grandfather would be and it was honestly hard to say just one.  I spent my entire childhood less than 30 minutes from my grandparents so we saw them frequently.  He was an integral part of my life, but mostly he was a beacon for my walk with the Lord.  He was an old school pastor that preached with a fire that most pastors don't possess anymore.  He used to say "It's not a sermon until you break a sweat!" :) He took everything to the Lord in prayer.

My grandfather was a man that lived simply.  He never had cable or a cell phone or a computer.  He loved to eat! He would re-use foil and plastic bags.  He didn't spend his money but gladly gave it to those that needed it.  When he laughed, his whole body shook and tears fogged up his glasses.  He always carried a handkerchief and when he blew his nose the neighbors dogs would bark (and small children would go running). :) He wore bifocals but used to put them on top of his head to see things close up.  He had an incredible memory and recited poetry from his childhood.  He said he didn't speak German, but he had a German accent.  He had a library of books and he read every single one.  He had a love of peppermint and believed it to be the cure for almost everything.  I may have inherited that trait.
He was never too busy for anyone.  He never had a negative thing to say.  His Bibles were always falling apart from being read so much.  He spoke directly to the Lord twice a day and didn't rush through it.  He would mention each family member by name and ask for their needs to be met.  He always had a story to tell (I may have inherited that one too).

He loved his family and loved the Lord.  He lived to tell people about the miracle of Jesus, so I rejoice that this Christmas, He gets to be in heaven.  I rejoice that I got to see him in August on our trip to the northwest and hear his voice and laugh again.  I rejoice that eternity is a really long time and we will get to spend it together.

My grandpa Tom Grams


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