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Let Hope Arise: an open letter to the families of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary

To the families of the children of Sandy Hook, 

As I sit on Monday morning and listen to the many sounds of my own school building where I teach, I think about what it must have been like on Friday morning just a few miles away at Sandy Hook Elementary. Just a normal day in a small town elementary school with teachers and students starting their daily routine. With such a broken heart, it is hard to bear to imagine the events that unfolded that morning upon those innocent lives- the evil that manifested itself in the most tragic and devastating way possible in the most vulnerable of places in our community. When I look at the faces of my students, the innocent faces we love and would die to protect, I see the faces of your children. We have hugged and cried and grieved for your losses. I cannot pretend to imagine the depth of your pain, and the love that you hold for your dear little children. However, I do know someone who loves those babies far more than you ever could, and I do know He is holding them in His arms right now.

God loves your little children. Through Jesus’ life, we see that little children are especially close to the heart of God. As you weep as grieving parents, and as we weep with you as your neighbors, we can expect that God Himself has wept too over what has been done- how one man used the god given gift of free will for evil instead of for good. He feels the pain in your heart. He alone can understand and bear the burdens you will bear forever. The very arms that hold your children close right now are available to you as well.

Jesus calls us all. As children of this world, we can know nothing but sorrow. Nothing but pain and grief are available outside of His Hand. We can mask it or numb it, but I promise you this: healing is available only at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Sin has made its dark mark on this world long before December 14. Since the very first man and woman chose to sin, we have all transgressed the holiness of God. Together, we have broken every one of God’s laws and, as a result, we deserve nothing but death and hell; but God in His incredible, merciful love did what no one else could. He sent his only son to take our punishment, and bear the burden of every evil done in this world- past, present, and future. Jesus was crushed under the weight of His Father’s wrath so that we might never have to taste eternal punishment for our sin. Every evil ever done was borne by Jesus and paid for by Jesus so that we, the sinners, might be made free. He asks us to lay our sin aside and turn to Him, and, in return, he offers mercy, forgiveness, healing, hope, and peace.

You and I could never be good enough to outdo the sacrificial death of Jesus. We have broken God’s laws and are too filthy to stand before the good, righteous, holy God and be pardoned on our own. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

The dear children you lost are now children of God, and the Bible gives proof that little children who leave this world without being able to fully understand the choice between Heaven and Hell are immediately taken to heaven. God may have even taken their little souls right before they were hit because He is loving and able to do anything. We don’t know. All we know is that they are with Him now, and these beautiful children long to see you again forever.

The only Hope and the only way to go to them is through Jesus.

He has paid the price of our deserved judgement so that we might be free. He calls us all. All who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest- to cast our sin and our pain and our burdens at His feet so that he can hold us up, and that we might see the beauty of Heaven and walk the streets hand in hand with those who have gone before us.

The loss of these innocent children is devastating, but Jesus offers peace and comfort and grace to hurting hearts if you only will come to His feet. Try as we may as your friends and neighbors, we can never offer the comfort that God can so He is what we offer to you. The healing of Jesus’ nail-scarred hand is far better than a thousand tears we could cry for your children, the peace of a home in heaven is far better than any hug, and the comfort of His arms is greater than any word of consolation we could ever offer.

This is what we give to you, not of ourselves, but it is what God offers to any man or woman who will come and ask. He promises that they will receive love, grace, mercy, peace, comfort, healing, forgiveness, joy, and a home in heaven with God and those who are already there. As we grieve the losses of your children and celebrate their lives, know that your families have touched the hearts of so many in our community, our country, and around the world. Our prayer is that through their tragic loss, you will come to know our Jesus, and that, together, we can be the love and light of hope that our dark world desperately needs.

With deepest sympathy and love and prayers,

Lauren DeMoss

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1
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