Broken Glass

I precariously moved the wood chips around with my shoe and discovered—just like the kindergartners had told me—that there was broken glass everywhere.

The school playground is located in an urban area and I figured someone must have haphazardly thrown a couple of empty glass bottles into the playground. I went inside the classroom to get a trash can and warned the kindergartners not to touch any of it.

I kept sifting through the wood chips and found more and more broken glass. At one point, I found the bottom of a glass container with jagged edges so sharp they would have sent a child immediately to the hospital had she tripped. As I was discarding these pieces of glass, I marveled at the fact that not one child had been hurt. Not one child had tumbled or fallen or collapsed in a happy game of tag among the broken glass. I have no explanation for that besides the reality that God sovereignly protected them from the potential danger.

Before going to bed last Wednesday night, I checked the news on my BBC app and read about the horrifying events that had just unraveled in Charleston. The trauma of it all. The sick knot I get in my stomach when I think of him sitting in their prayer meeting for an hour before he killed them. In a prayer meeting. The hatred. The racism. The insanity.

How can it be that in one situation we can feel God’s hand sheltering us from harm, and, in another situation, God seems absent? I do not know. I do not know why God protected the children from falling on the broken glass and later that same day, in Charleston, a racist wreaked havoc on Jesus’ bride, the church. I cannot begin to make sense of such an unbelievably evil situation.

What I do know is that our Savior entered into history. When the people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church welcomed this violent man into their prayer meeting, Jesus was there. Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed. Jesus knows what it is like to be murdered. Because Jesus entered into our broken world, we have hope even in the midst of great evil. We have not been abandoned. Because of Jesus, death has been defeated. He did not stay in the tomb, but came back to life. Eternal life is made available to us through the sacrificial love of God. Because of Jesus, evil does not have the final word. Love does.

I know that one day every evil thought and deed will come undone and be made right. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). Until that day, I will pray and work towards spreading the only thing that can overcome hatred: sacrificial love.


{a photo from our honeymoon in Charleston last March}

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