“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.
It’s been two years since many hearts were shattered in this cruel event. I’m still sad and broken when I think of the children and what they suffered that day.
It’s hard to accept that God had the power to override what took place but chose not to, because we believe He is not only all-powerful but also all-loving. It’s difficult to understand why in His great love, He did not rush in and act so 33 children could remain in the loving care of their foster parents. It’s even harder to come to peace with the loss of grace in these children’s lives. Each child, unwanted, undesired, fatherless, had come to live in a place of hope. Why did they have to endure even more suffering? Where was God that day?
When I ask that question, I often think of an Amy Grant song about a woman dealing with being sexually abused as a child.* The woman’s answer is that God is in the middle of her pain.
It’s hard to imagine how God is present in our pain, but I know it wasn’t the first time for Him. In another week, we ‘celebrate’ ‘Good’ Friday. The focus is usually on the suffering of Jesus as He hung on the cross. I don’t know if I’ve ever considered what it was like for His Heavenly Father to see His beloved Son dying there in agony, cut off from their precious fellowship, the oneness broken.
Today that thought comforts me. God knows the experience of loss and heartache. And I suspect that in my blaming or accusing moments with Him, the biggest problem is that my view of His love is too shallow. For His mercy extends even to those who deserve judgment and punishment and death–that is a love I do not quite comprehend. His mercy reaches me, and His mercy reaches these children still. I don’t understand how or why, but I know He has engraved them on the palms of His hands and He will never forget them.
That is the source of my hope for the children. God has never left them. He is with them still, and He is with each of us in our darkest moments. He is there, whether we believe it our not, whether we feel it or not, whether we are hurting or not, whether evil is done to us [even evil He has allowed]. He loves us.
And He tells us that the best response to Good Friday darkness is not to strike back with swords, but to use the instruments of love.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. I John 4:10-12
I may not be able to express my love directly to these 33 children. But as I keep my heart open and let God’s love [not mine which is far too meager] flow through to the people around me, I am proclaiming that love wins for He has risen.
*Ask Me from Amy Grant’s Heart in Motion CD