Why I am grieving

This post is about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. I know not everyone might be receptive to reading my thoughts, so I wanted to mention the subject immediately.





It was a tough weekend.

We actually experienced some wonderful things over the weekend. I won’t expound on those things now, as they are not my subject. But there were some great encouragements and fellowships experienced over the weekend, for which I am overwhelmed and thankful. We saw some prayers answered.

The reason it was a tough weekend was because of the impact that the school shooting on Friday had on me. Having a 6 year old little princess of my own drastically altered my perspective about this event. I can’t imagine.

Nor can I provide answers. I won’t humiliate myself by trying to give a rationale for why any child deserves what happened on Friday; why any family deserves to have a hole where a precious, innocent child was.

Nor will I turn to the infuriatingly irrational, “too-soon” subject matters that our media and many people are now discussing.

Gun control.

Mental hospital budgets.

The media and their role.

There will be a time and a place for discussing those things. It isn’t yet. Not for me.

My 2 girls were sleeping and I quietly snuck into their room and just watched them for a few minutes. How angelic they are when sleeping! How much I love them. And I put my hand on each of them and fervently prayed that they and their brother would be protected from evil such as our nation experienced this weekend. And I prayed for the families that have experienced the first-hand effects of that evil.

I didn’t want to lead worship yesterday. I didn’t want to be on stage. I wanted to grieve. Of course, I had to do what I had to do, and God granted me the grace and strength to do so. Yesterday was a blessing. But I am still, like many of you, grieving.

As I was thinking about it, I was reminded of when Jesus openly displayed sorrow in the face of death. I’m talking about the account of Lazarus.

John 11:32-36

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

It is an interesting fact. Jesus wept. He was the resurrection and the life. Lazarus’ tomb had “zero” power over Jesus. And yet, he wept.

I’ve read more than a few theories of why he wept. For Lazarus; for Mary and Martha; for the Jews; for his own impending crucifixion.

I think that Jesus saw Mary weeping, as well as the Jews with her, and he was displaying sorrow at this life’s reality of suffering and death. He was fully man as well as fully God. It was honest, raw, heartfelt, sincere sorrow.

I remember the sorrow I felt when my grandfather passed away. Of course, I wouldn’t wish him back. But I wept like a small child that day.

Without getting into the theology of why I believe so, I do believe those precious souls are in a much (infinitely so) better place now. That’s an easy thing to say, as I can still hug my 6 year old today.

For now, it’s ok to weep. It’s ok to grieve. The explanations and finger-pointing can wait. Healing will come, but it will come slowly. Christ himself showed us that we can join others’ sadness with heartfelt sorrow. We can weep.

And we can pray that God will grant things that only He can grant, in measures that only He can grant them. Peace. Healing. Grace. Love.



9 thoughts on “Why I am grieving

  1. Ernie Carey says:

    Harvey, How have you been? I’ve been reading all the posts since I got on your list. I wanted to make you aware of an observation I made. It may not mean much to you, but I noticed you apologizing many times for certain feelings. You made reference to it before morning service in your post. You should quit apologizing for your God given feelings, and allow yourself to feel like Jesus would if he were here! He would not pass over a sabbath to greive another day, and he would want us to know it is the condition of our soul, and not gun control that we need to change. Thank you also for stimulating me to think as well. After all, we are just all beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.

    Ernie Carey http://www.ChangeUrWater.com Wellness Advocate for Kangen Water


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Pastor Harvey.

  3. Dee Pello says:

    I mentioned to my husband that you really did look greifstricken. I assumed it was about the shooting. I like to see emotions on peoples faces when there is a reason for it. Makes me uneasy and nervous and feeling alone when there is reason to grieve and others around me have a mask of normalcy on their face. So for me, your facial expression of grief, matched my heart that day.

  4. Keli says:

    I think I might have a different view on this. While I do certainly feel sadness about it, there’s also a huge reason why I choose often here, to completely detach from media sources and stories like this.

    Part of it is because it used to be one of my Aspie obssessions, fueled again by media coverage of this senseless stuff. I suppose that fuels copy-cats, national grieving, depression, etc.

    I don’t often speak directly about having Asperger’s, but some of it, mainly the facial recognition, taking others too seriously, and social interactions being sometimes beyond me. Some of it, I choose not to participate in, others, I have trouble doing even when I want to understand.

    One of the reasons it’s really hurting towards me is that the media has called this guy as an Aspie. The disorder doesn’t cause violence. It’s more that violent videos/games, media, and probably some psychiatric disorders cause it. The mother had obssession with guns, the shooter probably also had anger and social isolation.

    I truly believe honestly, that these people, those with mental health disorders, need better help from society. My parents have always been supportive, and if I didn’t have Sunshine, I wouldn’t be the same person. Invalueable people in my life have reached out to me.

    We as Christians, need to reach out to people with these disorders, recognize people who are isolating themselves, and ask not just why are they weird/stand-off-ish, but help them in someway. Though I’ve heard some way that they isolate themselves delberately, but it’s not something to be assumed.

    It’s just kind of difficult being “labeled” by society, and honestly, I’m glad to have the church, they don’t judge, and don’t intentionally insult. There’s a reason why I don’t declare at work, as I’ve already been successful in college, I’d like to be known for my own merits and talents, not some stupid label. But it still makes getting to know people a lot more difficult, as I can’t often get subtle expressions. I’m always assuming my mom is angry with me, though she isn’t.

    • Harvey Earls says:

      I think there’s a whole line of reasoning here as well that is very valid. Sort of like, preventing some things before they happen. Reaching out to people in society who society sometimes neglects or completely forgets. I agree with you, my process just isn’t there yet concerning this single event. I’ll get there. Jen S had a good facebook post that your reply reminded me of.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your words made my cry as one with a child and one who remembers the day Grandpa died. And your words were the only comforting ones I’ve read thus far. Thanks, Harv-

  6. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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