The dark and evil act which took place at Covenant School in Nashville on March 27 has weighed on many of us with especially deep and heavy incalculable grief. Maybe it looms larger because it’s just down the road. Maybe it’s because many of us personally know some who are affected. Maybe the evil of it was compounded in our minds because it involved the deaths of three children and three adults in a Christian school.
There simply are no words.
Caskets of any size are not the way it’s supposed to be, but tiny caskets are especially not the way it’s supposed to be.
My mind is perplexed. My heart is heavy. My soul is sad. I have found myself waking up in the middle of the night and praying for the families who have lost family members. The world truly is groaning in the pains of childbirth (Romans 8:21).
There are times in this fallen world when we can’t even find the words to pray. When that is the case, the “Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). There has been a lot of groaning the last couple weeks.
This past Sunday, our church prayed for our brothers and sisters at Covenant Presbyterian Church. I heard crying throughout our congregation as we prayed for them.
Having taken place just a couple weeks before Easter, the shooting at Covenant is another reminder that all sin, all evil, all wrong, yes, all death has been conquered by Christ. In the end, because of Christ’s work, all will be well. Until then, like Andrew Peterson writes, we feel the world is broken. Until then, we feel the shadows deepen. We wish that we could see it all made new.
When you think about the events of Nashville, it seems that we are losing. The world is getting darker and darker. If you don’t know the end of the story, it’s easy to get discouraged. It can be depressing. But Christ is the end of the story. Ultimately, we know that God wins, and He wins through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Reason to celebrate
Now, the fact that Christ is the end and that God wins in the end doesn’t lessen our grief and pain now. Even though Jesus raised Lazarus at the end of the story, Jesus wept over his death in the middle of the story. (John 11)
The world we live in now is fallen and broken. There is sin and evil and death. But for those of us who know Christ, sin and evil and death are strong, but they are merely whimpering toward their ultimate defeat. This is why Christians sing, ‘This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.”
The Christ who came and lived and suffered and died was raised from the dead. This is what Christians celebrate at Easter, and indeed, every day.
Let us also remember that this same Christ will one day come again to gather believers to Himself. And when He comes again, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).
Christ is risen. Christ is risen, indeed.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written in late March by Todd E. Brady, vice president for university ministries, Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our prayers are also with the families of the victims of the tragic shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 10. The truth written here about the Covenant School attack holds true for the tragedy in Kentucky: “The world we live in now is fallen and broken. There is sin and evil and death. But for those of us who know Christ, sin and evil and death are strong, but they are merely whimpering toward their ultimate defeat.”