In the months that followed the Connecticut shootings back in 2012 I saw all these debates online. Gun control. Mental illness. People reaching and stretching for reasons. It’s because there was access to a gun. It’s because we haven’t correctly diagnosed and helped those with mental illness. It’s because we don’t pray in school. It’s because it has become politically incorrect to read the Bible. It’s because… It’s because…
We want reasons. We strive to find them, anywhere, somewhere.
And the truth is that it’s all those reasons and none of them, wrapped up tight and deposited on the front steps of a public school in Connecticut.
There are two forces in this world. There is God, calling, drawing, beckoning us to love and forgiveness and grace. And there is the enemy trying to destroy us and everything around us.
I’ve lived in places where spiritual warfare is so real and present you can taste it.
During our year in Haiti, Good Friday came and brought its own glimpse of horror. Drums beat and the voodoo doctors hosted parties all over the countryside. I fell asleep to the drumming that night and woke up at 2 in the morning to a pounding at the door. My skin crawled. It was an ambulance call.
My husband came home with an ashen face. Rousseau, the caretaker at the mission, didn’t speak for a long time. When he did, all he said was, “There are evil, evil men in this world.”
I didn’t see the body before they buried it. The pregnant mother who was cut to shreds with a machete.
I think, in the end, it was Rousseau who said it best. There are evil, evil men in this world. And I ache in mourning over it. For the people they will hurt. For the lostness of their souls. For the innocent blood spilled.
I’m no fool. There is no law that will keep tragedies from happening. Should we have laws? Absolutely. Should we question and look at how America has functioned in the past and see what we can change? Absolutely.
But evil is present and will continue to be.
And I know of only one hope:
After Good Friday and the murder, Saturday was closed and dark and horrible. I sat in the mission house and cried and wished that I could go away- far, far away- from all the terribleness. I felt shivers that slipped up my spine and jumped at every noise. I wanted to hate and I feared. That woman lived right down the road. I bought things from her at market each week. I had been waiting for her baby to come so I could hold it. My hands shook when I cooked dinner that night.
We received another ambulance call. This time for a woman in labor. We brought her to the hospital, went home and went to bed at 7 o’clock that evening.
The next morning, I woke up to light. It felt like I was taking my first deep breath in over twenty-four hours. My husband was awake beside me and he said, quietly, “It’s Easter. Christ arose.”
And I wept again.
We didn’t go to church because there was another ambulance run. This time to take the new mother home with her little baby girl. She slid into the Kubota and handed the infant to me. I cuddled that baby close, kissed her head. “Li bel anpil,” I whispered, beautiful.
The woman laughed. It was such a pretty sound. I looked at her, at the way her dark skin glistened and her teeth flashed white and her eyes sparkled in the glory of new motherhood. When we stopped at her hut, built of palm fronds with dirt floors and just a bed and fire-pit, she leaned over and kissed my cheek. Her husband tenderly helped her from the vehicle and then scooped up the infant from my arms. He beamed at me.
They were so happy.
There is blistering evil in the world. There is glorious beauty in the world.
There is a God who promises that He is coming back. That He descended into hell and now holds the keys to death and Hades. He promises that in eternity there is a tree that bears leaves that will be the healing of the nations.
Oh, glorious Father, come. Heal our nation.