When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” Matthew 2:16-18
How can the entrance of hope bring such pain?
Christmas is a time of hope. Jesus came to bring light into the darkness, yet darkness still persists. After the wise men returned home without going back to Herod, he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem. Hundreds of families lost there loved ones, needlessly murdered by one evil man. How can the entrance of hope bring such pain?
This weekend America has been asking similar questions. This is the Christmas season. Presents have been bought; joy is in the air. Where was God in the midst of this tragedy? Where is He now?
My brother died unexpectedly
Last year my brother got sick with a fever and quickly died in the night. The day before he was hiking with his daughter; the next day he was dead. He had three young kids. Where’s the warning?
One thing my brother’s death solidified in me was that God is good all the time (see the eulogy I gave). We are not like those that grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). You will never get me to believe that my brother or any of these kids died according to God’s design. Jesus came to give us life and that is what we carry. There is another who comes to bring death (John 10:10). However, God can redeem the evil.
Like Jesus, we are to bring light to darkness.
As Christians we need to enter the darkness and bring light. This is what Jesus did. We are not to pretend that the pain is not real. Jesus wept and currently weeps for these families (John 11:35). He understands pain, but pain does not get the final say.
Events like these can move us to inaction. For these families they have to figure out how life even goes on. I know my sister-in-law faces this about every day. These people that are hurting need the love of Christ in us. Please do not read that they need us to share the gospel with them; they need to experience the love of Christ in us for them. They need to see Jesus in our eyes. They need to know love will prevail on their behalf. They are not forgotten. They are loved.
Some verses to strengthen you:
- The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2
- Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. – Micah 7:8
- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5
- I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12
- For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6
- In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
- Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. – Isaiah 60:1-2
Some articles to encourage your faith:
- 7 Pictures to Restore Your Hope in Humanity (via Revival Lifestyle Blog)
- Do We Have Hope for the Hurting?
- 6 Helpful Steps to Deal with Grief
- How Can God Make Good Out of This? (Mary and Joseph)
- How Can God Make Good Out of This? (David and Bathsheba)
- God Works All Things for Good
- How We Think After a Tragedy (via Tommy Gilmore)
- 20 Children Stormed Heaven’s Gate (via Cameo Smith)