When I was a boy, I once let go of a helium balloon, just to see what would happen.
There it went, floating up, up, slowly and silently, gently making its way skyward until it disappeared in the cobalt blue of an open Texas sky.
It was beautiful.
I could not explain what happened, because I was only a small child.
I could not understand what carried the balloon away or where it might go, because such things were to much for me to know as merely a child.
Instead of finding answers, all I could do was look to the sky and trust that someday I might know, but for the moment I must simply let the wonder be enough.
Today a tragedy occurred in our nation.
Children and parents, brothers and sisters and mothers and more were gunned down senselessly at a Connecticut elementary school.
It was terrible.
I cannot explain what happened, because I am only an observer from a thousand empty miles away.
I cannot understand what carried the killer to such a dark place, what brittle supports must have collapsed in his soul to propel him to do such a thing. Such things are too deep for me to know as merely a man.
Instead of finding answers, all I can do is look to the sky and trust that someday I might know, but for now I must simply let these words be enough…
“In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” -Psalm 56:11
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” -Psalm 36:7
But words don’t stop bullets.
Even worse, if all we have is this life, then even these words from the Psalms truly have no meaning, because today brought a graphic example of “what man can do to me.”
Yet, if there is more to our existence than a few tired years under a fading sun, if there is indeed a hope for us beyond the grave, then words like these do have power after all.
They can stop our souls from decaying into bitterness.
They can stop our minds from sinking into despair.
They can stop the bleeding of our hearts, even as they help the tears flow on for healing.
If there is a God whose Word is true, then I can find strength in these, His assurances.
And so can you.
I often imagine there is a silver thread that ties our souls to our bodies.
I see it as a shining thing, like a spiderweb dripping with fresh morning dew, an unseen link that links the temporal to the eternal.
Today, many of those threads were cut.
Yet, the God I know loves children. The Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas was One who welcomed children into His arms and said this:
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
Today, many silver threads were severed, precious souls cut loose from lifeless bodies, but the Christ I know did not let them slip away.
He was as He always is, true to His Word, and with all my heart I believe that those children were indeed given eternal refuge in the shadow of Almighty God.
May their families find comfort both on this day and in the days to come, and may we all find such refuge in Christ, both now, and when our own silver threads finally become as those children are now…