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'Why did this happen?' Thoughts on the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School

Uvalde, school shooting
Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was reportedly killed by law enforcement. |

We have all been devastated by the unimaginable news that 19 innocent children and two teachers have been shot and killed on the campus of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The heart of America was ripped out this sad day.

This is every parent's worst nightmare and our hearts are all breaking, but none are feeling the pain that those families who lost their precious loved ones are experiencing right now.

This is a moment where we all should "Weep with those that weep" (Rom.12:15)

At a time like this, we all collectively ask, "Why?"

Why did God allow this to happen?

The simple answer is, I don't know.

But here is what I do know — There are evil people who do incomprehensively evil things every day BECAUSE WE live in a fallen, sinful world. MOMENTS LIKE THESE ARE A REFLECTION ON THE EVIL OF MANY, NOT THE GOODNESS OF GOD. 

I know, that is not really a satisfactory answer in many ways, but IT IS THE fact.
The Bible says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jer. 17:9)

When I find myself not knowing why bad things happen, I fall back on what I do know.

THAT IS BECAUSE IN A MOMENT LIKE THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IS NOT “WHY?” BUT “WHO?” — WHO CAN WE RUN TO FOR HELP IN THE MIDST OF THIS BROKEN WORLD?

I know that God loves every one of these little children and the teacher who died.

I know that God loves the parents and families that lost these little ones.

I also know that these children are safely in the arms of Jesus Christ right now in Heaven.

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matt. 19:14)

YES, WHEN we do not know the answer to the "Why" question, it's best to pivot to the "WHO?" question instead. AND THEN TO THE “WHAT?”

By that, I mean: What do we do at a time like this?

The answer is: WE MUST turn to God.

That is what I did when I heard the devastating news that our son, Christopher, age 33, died in an automobile accident 14 years ago. It was like time stood still for me and all the air was sucked out of the room and I felt like I could literally die.

I fell to my knees and I asked God to help me.

He did.

14 years later, I still deeply grieve over this loss, but I can tell you that God was there for me and is still with me, walking through this valley.

I KNOW GOD WILL BE THERE FOR THESE FAMILIES BECAUSE HE WAS THERE FOR ME. 

David wrote in Psalm 23, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me."

When we lost our son, the thing I realized there was no one who could fix this for me.

There was no doctor, police officer or anyone else who could bring my son back. I felt helpless. 

But when I turned to God, I remembered that He knows all about suffering, and He knew what I was going through because He, too, lost a son.

Rather, I should say, He, too, gave a son.

Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son and whosever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

This is a time to mourn.

When I speak with parents who have lost children I tell them to cry as much as they want. The depth of their sorrow is an indication of the depth of their love. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." (Matt. 5:3)

The key is to cry out to God Himself.

He will hear your prayer.

If you are one of the parents who lost one of these children and is reading this right now, let me say this to you — I am so sorry for your loss.

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will see your child again. They are not just a part of your past, they are also a part of your future.

AND MY PRAYER IS THAT God be with you NOW.

Remember this — For the Christian, death is not the end of life but the continuation of it in another place — Heaven.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die." (John 11:25-26)

Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and of Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. His new book World Changers: How God Uses Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things (Baker Books), releases Sept. 1.

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