I Hope He’s Listening

I don’t pray.  I used to but that was a long time ago and was typically for selfish reasons. Passing a test, not letting my Mom find out I did something wrong.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I sat on the edge of my bed with my hands folded in prayer. I find it to be a useless endeavor.  As this world so horribly points out, death, disease, despair, corruption, famine, suffering, and the Kardashians are still with us despite how much any of us pray.

Instead, I let events and situations fall where they may.  I put my faith not in to an invisible omnipotent deity rather I put it in to science, facts, proof, and that we will eventually figure out we don’t care about celebrity reality shows.

The tragedy unfolded in Newtown, CT today only seems to strengthen my resolve that God either doesn’t listen or he doesn’t care (I use ‘he’ because I don’t believe a ‘she’ would allow this to happen).  How could an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving god allow our children to be massacred?  Wasn’t he watching?  Didn’t he know this was going to happen?

These questions just add on to all the others I have had about this day.  Why did it happen?  How did it happen?  How could we stop it or prevent it from happening again?  Do we get rid of guns?  Do we make stiffer gun laws?  How do we help those who lost so much today?  How do I get rid of this sickening feeling I have?  What if this would have happened at my kids’ schools?  How do I keep them safe?

I want to do something but I know I can’t ease the pain for the families and friends of the victims at Sandy Hook.  I can’t change what happened, explain it, try to come up with a reasonable solution to it, or begin to comprehend what anyone involved is going through.  In fact I don’t believe there are any words I could offer at this moment that would be reassuring to the parents and families who will have to go home tonight without their loved ones.  So tonight, I will offer words to someone else.

I have placed my beliefs outside the walls of religion for a long time. So long ago that the last time I really prayed, I couldn’t say ‘…if I die before I wake’ because it scared me.  But after what I saw today in Newtown, CT, I’m going to offer my words to God.  I’m going to say a prayer for the victims.  For their families.  For all of those affected by what happened today at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I’m going to pray that somehow they can find peace and strength through this tragedy.  I’m going to pray tonight for him to help us find a way to make sense of all of this and to prevent something like this from happening again.  I’m going to pray that there is a Hell and the person responsible for this finds his way there. And while I’m at, I’m going to pray he helps to keep my kids safe.

Because right now, with so many questions left unanswered, with so much pain, and so much loss of innocent life, maybe for this one night, resurrecting my faith will be all that I can do?

I just hope tonight, he’s listening.

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14 responses to “I Hope He’s Listening

  1. You’ve perfectly said what many of us are feeling. Despite my upbringing, it is very hard for me to believe in much.

    I hope we are heard.

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  2. Jimmy – you said everything that’s on my heart. The only point I would argue is this isn’t about the guns. I heard so many radio commentators talking about security “deterrents” and gun laws, but this type of person isn’t going to be afraid of police, or worried about gun laws and consequences. This type of person has no logical thinking in their head what-so-ever. Guns in the US, knives in China (http://m.indianexpress.com/news/%22chinese-man-goes-on-stabbing-spree-at-a-school-22-kids-hurt%22/1045394/) – evil doers are going to do their evil. Logic and civilized laws and regulation will not stop that. I don’t have the answer, but I think if we stop focusing on the weapon and look deeper, explore the issue from a different angle, we can find it. I don’t pray either generally…but maybe that’s where we all need to start, by asking the “God of our Understanding” *to quote AA* where we begin to prevent these horrible crimes against children, families.

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    • I agree with you Cindy. Deterrents would not have worked. I guess this sort of thing just swirls up all sorts of questions and leaves them all unanswered. I don’t know what the answer is or how to find it, I just know we need to figure it out.

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  3. What Andrea said. We’re going to church on Sunday for the first time in a long time.

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  4. Jimmy, I’ve gotten to know the Dads of DadsRT w/o any discussion of faith. Our common bond is that we want to make an impact on our families and be the model for changing an image of dads and men that has cast as the family idiot, rather than family leader.
    I do pray. I work on my relationship with our savior daily knowing that I can’t make the type of impact I believe in without supernatural guidance. My faith grows everyday in spite of me being a screw up.
    I pray for you and the rest of the DadsRT men daily. You guys are an encouragement to me, as I know I’m not alone in this movement of great Dads.
    Upon hearing of the Messiah’s birth, King Herrod ordered the slaughter of hundreds of not thousands of children. Though I know this to be true, until Sandy Hook, it was just a story from 2000 years ago. How could there be such evil in this world.
    I hope I can be of encouragement when I tell you Jesus entered a very dark and evil world. The people turned to him then for answers and hope. They needed a savior. Jimmy, we are in equally a dark and evil time, when far too many people have turned away from faith and hope and we are in need of a savior. If for one night, you turned to Him. I know that much of our nation did as well.
    My personal anger has boiled over. With a 6 and a 4 year old, it hit too close and my tears have been immeasurable. Yet, I pray.
    I’m excited to know that I can lock arms with you and other Dads to leave our mark and raise children who can continue to change our world. Thank you for sharing your heart, brother. One Dad to another, I appreciate the transparency and vulnerability.

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    • Thanks Chad. I appreciate those words and I’m glad you have been able to accept Jesus as your savior. I think we both share the bond of fatherhood and of searching to find our strength during this time. While mine doesn’t come from the only Son of God, I really felt that for one night, it was the only answer I had.
      And know, my arm will always be out, ready to lock in with you and all the Dads.

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  5. You can’t factor god into this situation. There are only three places that thinking can take you, and every single one of them is a dead end.

    1) God has a greater plan, and this is part of his/its plan. We should trust him/it and be glad that his will is done.

    Somehow, in light of these events, everything about that just feels wrong.

    2) God could have stopped this, but didn’t.

    That makes god at best ambivalent, or at worst evil.

    3) There is no god.

    I doubt this scenario is acceptable to anyone who would look to god for guidance in this scenario.

    If your faith is important to you, my advice is to keep it as far away from things like this as possible. There’s just no way to keep it clean otherwise.

    -DD

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    • I agree pretty much step for step with what you said, the one thing I would disagree with is keeping faith out of it (if you have faith which I really do not). I have seen faith help keep my Dad sober. I have seen faith turn around criminals. I understand the power of faith in people who have it or rely on it for their strength. I think during this time it would be foolish to think the victims and their families would turn from their religions (if they have one). It may be the only thing that allows them to turn the lights out at night. And the only way I thought I could help was to offer my prayers to them (regardless of what I think about religion), so that’s what I did. Those prayers I said, barring the one for my kids, were for them more than they were for me.

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  6. Perfectly said, I too hope he is listening.

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  7. This is the kind of stuff that shakes anything that makes us feel remotely stable. If my son had been one of the victims, I’m not sure what would be left of me. I think the anger/grief/disbelief we’re feeling… we should feel. We have to shoulder this burden. We have to care. We have to be there for people we’ve never met. We are bound to them.

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    • Regardless of my beliefs (or more specifically, my lack of beliefs), I knew I had to do something for them and so I prayed for them. More for them than for me because as you perfectly stated Angie, I and all of us are bound to them.

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