I was in a Toastmasters meeting when my phone lit up with the headlines of the nauseating violence at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. I let the screen go blank and refocused my attention on the agenda, since I had a speech to deliver. When I got home, I read blogs and Facebook posts and news stories about the ghastly shooting. Some suggested that this tragedy was the direct result of “kicking God out of our public schools.” Others cried for strict gun control, while one person suggested the opposite by calling for the arming of teachers and principals. One woman said we need better mental health care in our country.
I started thinking about all these suggestions and found holes in all of them. We could force prayer and Bible readings in schools tomorrow, but there will be kids who will tune it out. We can disarm the citizenry, but a madman will still find a gun. We could give free counseling sessions to anyone who wanted them, but some will continue to fuel their spite and feed their bitterness. One of God’s many gifts to humanity is free will, the ability to choose a certain path. Sadly, some will recklessly decide to follow the wrong marker, no matter how many breaks and blessings they receive.
So where does that leave us as Christians? It leaves us where we always should be, shining in the darkness. We don’t have all the answers. We can’t prevent every tragedy. But we can be like our Jesus, who said to His followers that they were the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).
So be what Christ said you are: the light. Do what He said you were created to do: shine. Because as the world gets darker, it’s going to need all the light it can get.