By Pastor Jonathan S. Ferriol
“Evil visited this community today,” thus, sums up the horrific tragedy yesterday in Sandy Hook in Newton, Connecticut. It was like Columbine all over again, but this time, it was more wrenching. Twenty kids, most of them still in kindergarten, massacred in broad daylight. Six more adults were also gunned down in cold blood.
All throughout yesterday, I glued myself to the Internet, television and satellite radio for news updates. As a parent myself, I grieved. As a pastor, I prayed. As a human being, I wondered and asked God for illumination about this tragedy.
My wife, Tess and I had a back and forth about it yesterday, interrupting once in a while, our somber discussion, with silent disbelief and stunned silence. Last night, we huddled with our two daughters for our family devotion. We prayed and hugged a bit tighter. It was cold last night but it was colder in Sandy Hook with the loss of that magnitude. I slept with a sense of loss and sadness, and I think, the rest of America did also.
“Is Satan at war with our kids?” I asked myself. I believe so. He’s always been against the young. He is against innocence, purity and child-like faith. Exploiting man’s flawed judgment and murderous intents, Satan is rampaging across America and the world, stealing infants as well as children and killing them even before they see the light of their day. We see teenagers taken away from their parents by random acts of violence, gang activity, rape and sexual promiscuity, illegal drugs and spiritual blindness.
It is Jesus who exposed Satan as a murderer and a home invader who steals, kills and destroys! – John 8:44, 10:10. And he seeks with impunity the most vulnerable and defenseless among us – our children! Satan murdered the children of Bethlehem. Yesterday, he did the same thing in Sandy Hook.
Yet, even as evil ran amuck yesterday, people sought refuge and comfort in God. Although in pain and hurting, people prayed. I find it always interesting that during times of great crisis, it is in faith and it is in God, people run for answers and understanding. On the other hand, I wonder where is atheism throughout this ordeal? What kind of comfort or assurance (if ever they have any) could it give to those in grief?
As a father and a pastor, I must resist Satan by standing firm in my faith, for my sake and for the sake of my own children – 1 Peter 5:8-9. I must also install practical guidelines based on biblical principles to shield these young trusts of God that He has given to me. I urge that you do the same.
- 1. Pastor my kids. I am pastor a growing church but at the end of the day, I am also my kids’ pastor. I cannot win others but lose my own – Ephesians 6:4 Hold family devotions and train your kids to serve God and model that very faithfulness that you teach them.
- 2. Protect my kids. Develop a plan to insure their physical and emotional health as well as safety. Know what to do in case of emergencies of any kind. Monitor what they watch on television and their Internet activity as well. Know who their friends are in school or in social networking sites, (if they are old enough to have one).
- 3. Patrol my church & house. Speak with other parents in the church how to implement safeguards in your church facilities. To a deranged mind, no place is sacred anymore – whether it be the Lord’s house or your own house.
Let’s keep Sandy Hook in our prayers and may we all continue seeking God during these trying times!