“It was just another day.”

Note: This post was not easy to write, but it was necessary to write. I needed to process this horrific tragedy. I needed, at least for my very small, considerably insignificant part, to bring some good out of the senseless.

12-19-12 question 1Just Another Day

People going about their morning just like every other morning with no knowledge of the horribly unordinary day that lies ahead of them. The school nurse at Sandy Hook said the day started with “comforting routine.” Yet, a day that started as “just another day” changed so many lives… no more ordinary days for so many people.

While I have watched the newscasts, the pictures replayed in my mind are not of reality. I picture my boys’ school. I picture how a gunman might go in, how he might plan to kill there. How someone might take “just another day” and turn it into a day of infamy in my own life.

I don’t know how families and communities move on after something like this.

As I watched the developments in the story, my thankfulness for all of the ordinary days I’ve had and all of the ones to come have increased. More than ever before, I am cognizant of evil and its ability to destroy any semblance of a “normal day” for the rest of a person’s life.

Virtually every TV news show tells the story anew each day as the pieces of the story come together. I want to turn away because it’s so horribly sad. But, I don’t turn away because the families of 26 people – 20 young children – can’t ever turn away. Somehow, watching and feeling grief – though comparably minuscule – gives me some way of showing support and sympathy.

Refuse to Fear

12-19-12 question 3

I’m not going to try to make any sense of why anyone would murder 1st graders. The topic of gun control perplexes me. So does wondering about the cause of a demented mind. Complex. Controversial. Complicated.

But I refuse to have fear! The only fear that drives me is fear of the Lord, because His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Where Was God?

Psalm 44 captures well the feelings so many of us have after senseless tragedy. Please take a minute to read Psalm 44 now.

In this Psalm, the writer remembers past victories and blessings from God. He then moves into and ends with wondering where God is as people go through tremendous suffering. That’s it. No explanation as to why God seems distant and even absent and why He doesn’t move to change the situation.

I feel that way today. I know that God has done amazing things in the past and wonder how He could have allowed this to happen. Why didn’t He stop it? I know He could have. Like the Psalmist, I end my pleas without specific answers; at least, not tangible answers that make everything okay again.

12-19-12 question 2

No Other Comfort

Romans 8 offers comfort and hope. As a Christian, I know that sin does not have control over me. Not my sin, not anyone else’s sin (v. 3). I find comfort in knowing that God knows what it’s like for a parent to have a child murdered (v. 31). Though I may sometimes feel God is distant in times of suffering, I know that my feelings often deceive me. If my feelings were accurate, the God’s Word wouldn’t be. Therefore, I rely on knowing that NOTHING separates me from Him (vv. 35-37).

Though my processing of the Sandy Hook tragedy comes with personal struggle, I realize that my own struggle pales and even disappears in comparison to those who are personally living this tragedy. Yet, I also know that processing this for me means preparing for future suffering in my own life.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 – NLT)


Be determined. Pursue simplicity. Find balance. Be curious. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Age gracefully. Make the most of every opportunity.


Mary Mccauley
December 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Kari, I have shed tears as I listened to this on the satelite radio, and wept when I saw the faces on TV when home this weekend. I like you and so many others are still processing this. My heart aches for all involved. I like you have a the feeling that God's promise of one day overcoming all evil will happen and in the meantime His grace will provide strength and comfort, courage and healing as only He can. __I believe we should each look at each day not as ordinary, but as a gift. Those we have been given to cherish are not ours, just on loan for awhile. None of us knows what the next moment will hold. Instead of fear though we need to live in thanksgiving for all of God's blessings and offer our thanks for His presence now. As I hear of the outpouring of love for this community I think , maybe God is doing something we don't yet see. and I pray!

December 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I remember hearing about Matt Chandler at one stage in his preaching career. He felt called to preach a lot about suffering. Even though his congregation was relatively fine and relatively young, he felt the call. Suffering is something you need to be prepared for. You need to built your house on the solid ground before the storm hits. I think tragedies like this (while they're impactful to me) aren't nearly as personally felt as things I deal with in my own life. So these tragedies can help teach us all to lean on God a little more and build our house before the storm hits.

December 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Note: This is a comment from Mike Brown. He emailed it to me because of technical difficulties trying to submit the comments in the usual way.

“Having been in the classroom and going through the multiple drills to cover such an unimaginable tragic event, I can only wonder how I would have responded. My students were high school age but I know my faith in God would be tested to cover their fear if such an event ever happened. I remember being in the hallways during the tornado emergency that hit Enterprise, AL 5 years ago, and killed so many teachers and students too. We were lucky where we were and there was no one hurt, but we knew so many of those affected. I remember well wondering how I might try to protect those young lives if the tornado actually did hit the school and the building began to collapse as it did in Enterprise. There are similarities in the tragedies – unpredictability, vulnerability, and uncertainty everyone felt during the time people lost their lives. Yet, I trust God’s sovereignty and I trust there is real living beyond this life, and if needed I would give this life to protect others. As it was once stated as random bombs fell upon helpless London, “our greatest fear is of fear itself!” For me my only fear is not doing all I could to help others to know the faith that dispels all fears! And that is the love of God covers over all of this world’s blackest tragedies. Reading the story of Job is a reminder….”

    December 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Mike, what a terrific statement of faith in God to cover us. His perfect love casts out fear, and we must never forget that. I can't imagine the perspective you have from teaching in a similar environment. Being prepared, whether spiritually or via drills, is the key!

Mark Allman
December 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

"my thankfulness for all of the ordinary days " This is so true; we need to be thankful for ordinary days. I know that I do cherish those days; those days of comforting sameness; days without things going all awry. I need to be more thankful for them.

December 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I happen to have been a guest speaker at a church this past Sunday. Little did I know how timely my message (one I blogged about recently–Jesus Doesn't Know Everything) would be following the tragedy. A number of things encouraged us all as elements of the service drove home the fact that God knew of our need for comfort long before we did; God also knew that the birth of His Son would have tragic repercussions for those families with boys 2 and under (Herod the Great proved how not great he was when he ordered the execution of the innocents).

    December 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I read your "Jesus Doesn't Know Everything Post," and it is definitely a fitting message. your post today was very moving. One of the best reflections I have read on the tragedy. My prayers have been filled with calling on His comfort. Nothing else can help right now, not truly help.

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