My husband and I took our kids to our Small-town, USA pizza joint for lunch yesterday and immediately we could feel the tension and shock as we walked into the dining room. The restaraunt was packed, and everyone was sitting at their tables watching the television on the wall. They stared at the images coming from Las Vegas as they ate their pizza and quietly whispered among one another.
Pretty quickly our oldest daughter picked up that something was very wrong.
“Why is everyone looking so sad at the TV, Mommy? Who are all those people running and why are they running so fast? And who is that guy they keep talking about?”
I got them all situated in the booth and took a deep breath. How in the world am I supposed to answer her? I thought. Lord Jesus, give me Your words.
“Honey, something really sad happened last night. That man on the screen did something really bad; something that makes Jesus very sad. And those people who are running are trying to get away from the bad things that he is doing.”
And I could have stopped there. But then I looked into the eyes of my children. My preschooler wanting answers to the hard questions. My toddler looking at me with confusion. And my infant in his high chair, blowing bubbles and pounding on the table.
You have to remind them, I said to myself.
“Nora, what is it that Mommy always tells you; that even when you are sad… even when bad things happen and nothing else makes any sense. What does Mommy always tell you about God?” I asked her.
“That He’s good,” she replied.
“Yes, honey. He’s good. He’s good even when there is so much bad. And because we love Him we get to show the world His goodness. It’s not something we have to hide. Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world and we need to shine for Him. And when we do that we get to give God all the glory; that’s what we were made to do. Does that make sense?”
My sweet girl nodded her head, “Yeah, like when I’m nice to my sister when she’s being mean to me or when I sit with the boy at school who is alone. That is being good like Jesus. Because I want to be like Him.”
I slumped back into the booth and then reached over and grabbed her hand, “Exactly, sweetie.”
You guys, I don’t understand why all of the horror that happened in Las Vegas did. I laid in bed last night and asked why God allowed it to be. I wept as I tucked my children in their beds and kissed their little heads and prayed for wisdom in the days and years ahead. But today at the pizza shop I had to ask myself….
But what do we tell the kids?
We tell them Truth, friends.
In all of the unknown and confusion in our country today, we tell them what we know.
We know…. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. It’s our calling as followers of Christ to be His light. There is no greater purpose that we have here on earth than to boldly proclaim the Gospel and give glory to His name. Even in tragedy.
We know…. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. He never changes! What happened in Las Vegas doesn’t change Who God is. Nothing is a match for our God or changes His great love for us.
We know…. “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 Even in the evil of this world, the purpose God has for us will be carried through. We can trust that nothing will stand in His way.
We know…. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28. There is absolutely nothing that surprises or exhausts our God. Not even an evil gunman in Las Vegas or the fear of the monsters under the bed. He knows and He cares. Even when He seems far away.
We know…. “This God- His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30. He is Worthy of our trust, friends. When the trials and the unthinkable happen in our lives and in our country, we trust that His way is perfect. And when we take shelter in Him, His love protects us. He provides a way for us to endure the storm.
And we can tell our kids these truths because He is worthy of our trust, friends. We can’t stay in our homes and hide. But we can go out behind our Shield, hand in hand with our children, knowing that we serve a God Who’s already won the war.
We have to live with purpose – to be the light in the dark. And remind the world that He is good.
And that’s what we can tell our kids.