Weeping in Ramah

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”           Matthew 2:18 NIV

This has all happened before. Innocent children’s lives snuffed out at the hands of a madman in a small town. No warning; no mercy. Only savage slaughter.

We can piece together the reasons, after the fact. Jealousy, revenge, anger, irrational fear, despair. None of these words ameliorates the crime.

Explanations are not comforting and offer no acceptable excuse.

Every act of violence is a hand raised against God Himself, the Author of Life, who has given His everlasting command against murder. Some acts are more literally a strike at God than others. Surely there are few things more evil than to strike at innocent youth.

Once upon a time, a group of infants and toddlers was summarily executed to appease a king’s paranoia. Unbeknownst to him, the object of his insane envy escaped into Egypt, and his ultimate intent was thwarted. But blood was still shed, horrifically and without any justification. Surely God Himself wept, even as the angels shadowed that family of three hurrying away into the desert.

Evil is abroad in the world, and has been since almost the beginning of time. Over and over it lashes out, again and again atrocities are committed. And yet evil does not ultimately triumph. One would think in all this time that Good would be beaten back, stamped out, forgotten. But against all reason, it remains, and even flourishes.

Although God in His inscrutable wisdom allows humans to sin because of free will, He does not permit anything to thwart His ultimate purposes. Then as now, Christ is a living presence in our world. Better still, today we have the Holy Spirit abroad in our hearts, bringing His comfort beyond words to all those in need.

In the midst of tragedy which we cannot understand, we can and must cling to what we know is true. God is not mocked, men will reap what they have sown (Gal. 6:7), and the gates of that evil will not be able at last to withstand the assault by His Church (Matt.16:18). If you are in a position to offer words of comfort, do so. If you are prompted to speak truth in love, do so. If we who are new creations in Christ cannot offer comfort, who can? If our hope is only for this temporal world, and not eternity, then we are the most pathetic of mortals (I Cor. 15:19).


Yesterday’s post was a reading from 15 years ago, before most of the recent spate of senseless killings.  I scheduled it days in advance, and so did not realize that it would be read in the context of the Friday massacre in Newtown, CT.  

But now, I can think of no better scripture to close with than the words of Isaiah which I quoted Sunday: 

‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given,
and the government will be upon His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.’

–Isaiah 9:2,6


7 responses to “Weeping in Ramah

  1. Awesome post, GBL….

    In the midst of the calls of “Where was God?”, I saw an amazing interview this morning on Fox & Friends with Gov. Mike Huckabee. It is well worth finding and watching.

    Progressives in society have forced God and Faith out of every school, public discussion, and then ask “where is the morality?”. “Free will and volition” are the key, but, it should be painfully clear to all that those two actions are best exercised from a foundation of Godly morality.

    When the ACLU keeps the Boy Scouts from meeting in a public library, but fights for the rights of NAMBLA to assemble in the same area, it gives you a strong indicator of societies stand on Godly morality.

    • Thank you, PGH! I read an excellent article by the mother of a teenager with mental illness about our current attitudes toward/treatment of the mentally ill. (She is already afraid of her son, at age 13, but the only advice she gets is to charge him with a crime so that he will be arrested. That’s our preferred handling of the insane? Incarcerate them?) I have to wonder whether there is a correlation between a pervasive sense of despair–the result of removing God from our cultural conversation–and an increase in mental illness. Seems like a logical inference to me!

      • Personally, I think you’re on to something in your last couple of sentences. When we recognize ourselves as a creation of the Almighty, whose sins have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, it gives one a sense of meaning and belonging. Lacking that, and believing that human life is “nothing special” could easily lead to that sense of despair your describe.

        • I can’t take any credit for the notion that our society lives below the line of despair. Francis Schaeffer said it first and far better.

  2. Yes, the words ‘free will’ say it all.

    If you don’t know about God and His commandments, then you don’t know right and wrong. Goodness comes from GOD. These kids today have no conscience. Instead of looking at themselves and thinking how can I help me, they kill, steal and are destructive, …yet we continue to blame it on the guns?

    If anything good comes out of this, more people will turn to God because there is no other way to get out of this mess that is being created by our society. Amen!

    • I suppose that these violent acts could be viewed as (belated and inadequate) cries for help. We have to wonder how many previous, less drastic cries went unheard by a population of adults who no longer have the tools to help, or even ears to hear. Our culture has lost its faith-language and with it, its hope for anything better than a notorious few minutes of gory fame.

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