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There Is No Explanation: A Meditation on the Tragedy in Uvlade, TX

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…” Sometimes children’s songs remind us of the uncomplicated and foundational truths of Scripture. Jesus loves kids.

And in the wake of the tragedy that just unfolded in Texas, how much more do we need to be reminded that this is true?

Because the reality is, we have all these narratives, all these stories that we tell ourselves to make sense of the world and to make sense of the heinous acts we read about or experience. We live inside these stories, inhabit them. We use these stories to explain life; we try to fit the events of life into these stories. And when we can’t, we feel restless and uneasy. And in our discomfort, we begin to distort things, bend our worldviews, cram life’s horrors into places where they don’t really fit. We stuff them down or wield (self-)righteous anger as a ready tool to deal with the hurt and confusion.

But honestly, the pains and tragedies of this world don’t fit neatly into our mental boxes. There’s no sensible place to put what happened in Uvalde, Texas. Not really.

Ultimately, the reason is because sin is absurd. Did you ever notice that in the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve, there’s no explanation for the serpent? We don’t know where he came from or why he was there or how he got there. We don’t know what caused him to do what he did. The Bible is remarkably silent about the ultimate source of sin. Part of the reason is simply because there is no explanation. Sin by its nature is irrational. Sin is absurd. It doesn’t fit. There is no place for it in God’s larger story.

That’s why God’s ultimate plan is to eliminate sin from his presence and in our lives. His plan is to dispose of it once and for all, to remove it from all that he governs as far as the east is from the west. Because it doesn’t fit. Because it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t belong.

Collectively, we will search for the sources of this tragedy, the chain of causes and effects that led that young man to his unspeakable acts. And in the end we may find something that will “make sense of” it. But ultimately, the disquiet will remain because no explanation will ever fully justify the absurdness of sin. Our only hope is that Jesus will justify us in spite of it.

Jesus loves little children. And he mourns with those who mourn and weeps with those who weep. So should we.

But so, too, should we hope and pray that he would return and finish what he began. So, too, should we hope and pray that he will put away once and for all the absurdities and tragedies of this life. And that he would do so soon.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

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