In Light of Current Events

I can’t bring myself to post a recipe or a frivolous style post today. Yesterday I watched in horror as our country experienced another senseless tragedy on what should have been an ordinary day of working, playing, and for 27,000 runners, celebrating months of hard work and commitment to health and fitness. And on top of it all, in a city that was also celebrating our nation’s freedom as well as one where I spent four years of my life. I went to college just outside of Boston and I have a deep love for the city and its history.

It’s all getting to be too much.

I feel like I’m watching our world change before my very eyes — and by “our world” I really mean our country. I used to think that it was always this bad, that I’m just getting older, and social media makes tragic events throughout the nation (and the world) so much more intimate. But I’m not so sure anymore. It seems like senseless tragedies on American soil are becoming more and more common.

I know that in other parts of the world, people live in fear every day of their lives, and I certainly don’t think we are immune or that we should be. But the fact is, for a long time, we thought we were. And now? I just don’t know . . .

At times like this, I feel this maniacal urge to gather my children and run away to a self-sufficient farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere and insulate them from all of it. But of course I would wither away on a farm without my internets and stilettos so that’s hardly practical. #lamejoke #sorrycouldn’tresist

Seriously, though. I tend to worry about things like getting cancer or one of my kids being victimized or my dog getting hit by a car. But I guess I figured that somehow, being an educated middle-class woman living in a typical American suburban neighborhood, I’d be free from any threats of mass destruction. The events of this year have thoroughly eradicated that theory. We truly aren’t safe anywhere. Of course, we never were, but recent events just seem to drive that home.

I am reminded of a sermon preached by my pastor the Sunday morning after the horror of September 11, 2001. We were all still processing that senseless tragedy and perhaps questioning matters of faith and theology as people so often do at these times, so he chose to preach on the sovereignty of God. I can’t begin to do justice to the presentation, but as he was wrapping up the sermon, he went through a few examples of human tragedy and suffering, and declared that in each case, God is indeed on His throne.

He finished with this (I paraphrase):  And when terrorists fly airplanes into high rise office buildings in New York City and take the lives of hundreds of innocent citizens, God is on his throne. 

I do believe that.

So it is with a deep sigh that I add to that list the horror of the Sandy Hook shooting and now the unbelievable bombings at the Boston Marathon.

It’s tempting to fret and worry and dwell on the tragic, but instead, I cling to the one thing that remains firm . . . that God is on his throne, and he is present in the chaos. After all, he knows suffering like no other.

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19 Responses

  1. Amen! It’s hard to make sense of it all. But that’s not our job. We just have to trust and keep our eyes heavenward. God is sovereign!

  2. Whyshouldn’t we be immune? Why shouldn’t everyone be? In the face of unspeakable tragedy, to this I cling – God is good. All the time.

  3. This is a great post. Thank you, Jo-Lynne. I live in a suburb of Boston and I’m so incredibly sad and angry. I know yesterday can’t compare to the devastation of 9/11 or the absolute horror of what happened in Newtown but once again innocent people were killed, maimed and traumatized doing something that should have been perfectly safe. An eight year old boy watched his father finish the race, ran out to hug him and was killed minutes later. His mother and sister are critically injured. That’s just too much. Your post reminded me of the only thing that is comforting right now: God sees all this and he’s still sovereign. Thank you.

  4. Yes. This is perfect. I to want to take my kids and hide away when things like this happen. But that’s not reality. The only thing strong enough for me to cling too is God and knowing he is there. I may not understand or know why, but I don’t need to. God has the ultimate control, not evil.

  5. Despite the philosophical difficulties and questions people have about an all-powerful, good God who allows “bad” to happen, I’ll accept that I don’t know all the answers. I’ll accept that I can’t understand anything – or anyone – who knows all, controls all, sees all – and continue to believe in that God. The alternative would be to believe in a God who is impotent, and that is no God at all. And certainly not a God worthy of worship. The other alternative is complete Atheism and Despair. One day, I might know the answers and understand. But for now, I only trust and obey.

  6. Amen, Jo-Lynne. I don’t know how I would cope or live in our world if I didn’t know that. And I see, over and over, that He is able to take horrific acts of men and twist them and turn them around and later redeem them for good in many lives. It doesn’t excuse the evil in any way, but it reminds me that His redemption is miraculous, and helps me believe that He can redeem me too. I feel the sense of cultural loss you describe here. It’s not the same world anymore.

  7. I read somewhere last night that this is our new normal. It has been normal all over the world in the past, and now it is ours. That breaks my heart.

    I lived in NJ during 9/11, and have friends who were in SHES during the shootings. But this? This hit closer to home than either of those, as I am both a runner and a former Boston resident (whose heart remains there) with friends who were running yesterday. A marathon? Seriously? I have three big races in Philly and DC this year, and Boston will get me through. I will never qualify to run Boston, but it is on my bucket list, and my resolve is to run it next year with a charity. I will not let them win!

  8. I find it always help me to cling to the good in the midst of the bad we are dealt. Boston is a city I have always wanted to visit. We thought we might be moving there about two years ago, there was an opportunity, but we decided to stay in Colorado. Seeing the people all come together yesterday makes me want to visit more now than ever.

  9. “It’s tempting to fret and worry and dwell on the tragic, but instead, I cling to the one thing that remains firm . . . that God is on his throne, and he is present in the chaos. After all, he knows suffering like no other.”

    Yes, oh yes. Such truth. This is the only place to land. Thank you.

  10. Great post. I am just outside Boston and went to Boston College. I didn’t go to the marathon this year – wrangling my two little kids in the crowds seemed too overwhelming – but I had a friend running. She was .4 miles from finishing when she was stopped. I was terrified she was at the finish line and breathed a sigh of relief when she texted me that she was safe.

    I struggle with faith at times, but all I needed to do while watching the coverage of the terror was to “look for the helpers,” as Mr. Rogers said – and God’s presence was fully evident.

  11. Your post is beautifully written. These events are just terrible. Although I know there is a greater power looking out for us, I struggle to believe at times like this. I am so fortunate to be living in ‘safe’ Switzerland, though the country has its own share of senseless shootings etc. I am from Ireland where we have our own share of utterly irrational and tragic goings-on disguised as ‘fighting for freedom’ and the like and often wonder how regular families in Northern Ireland live their day-to-day lives. Indeed, it’s so important to focus on the good and positive.

    On a much brighter note – I have only come across your blog last month and really enjoy it.

    1. Hi Aisling. How fun to have a reader in Switzerland! I’ve never been to Europe and Switzerland is first on my list of countries I want to visit. I agree, I think of people living in places like Northern Ireland where violence is (seemingly?) much more common than it is here and wonder how people just live their lives. I fear that our country is headed in that direction, and it is frightening and sad. I hope things settle down but right now everything is in upheaval. I think we all just want answers. Who? Why? The shootings were one thing, but bombings? It’s unbelievable. Anyway, I ramble. Thank you for your comment!

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