One of the world's foremost lamentations over the loss of a child is that of King David upon learning of the loss of his son:
O my Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!
Would I have died instead of you.
O Absalom, my son, my son!
Some have called it "one of the most distressing scenes in all literature."
While Absalom's open rebellion and warfare against his father distinguishes David's loss from the horror of the innocent lives lost at Newtown, the impact is the same. What parent would not trade their own life for that of their child? What loss of a husband, wife, mother, father, brother or sister is not grievous?
The news outlets, politicians and talking heads will milk this tragedy for all its viewer potential. "Senseless." "Incredible." "Unbelievable." "Depraved." "Innocence lost." And all very, very true. All their platitudinous descriptions of this event will change nothing, however. It happened. And it cannot be undone.
We can destruct, construct and reconstruct this horrid event hour by hour, minute by minute, even death by death but to no avail. There is no solace, no healing in the past.
The "What ifs" and "Why dids" are behind us. What remains is the suffering of today and tomorrow. How do we move through it? We move through today and on to tomorrow, as the Apostle Paul wrote, by "faith...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The faith that moves us through is in the mercy of an omniscient and omnipresent Almighty God.
And in that mercy He has caused all those whose lives were taken from us, adults and children alike, to be in the safe keeping of His eternal love and that we will be united with them, standing in his presence in the fulness of joy. (Loosely paraphrasing from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer).
As for today, all those who suffer so terribly might do as the psalmist: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from which cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."
May God bless and help all those who are carrying such crushing, devastating losses. May God bless and help our Nation.