I sit here, as so many of you do, with a saddened heart; aching for those parents, family members, friends, school mates, first responders really the whole community of Newtown, Connecticut. Alas, we go on with our everyday lives while their world has stood still. They walk in a fog, hoping that it was just a dream and that their kids or loved ones will be coming home any minute from school. Everything looks so different to them right now, somehow empty and gloomy and dark. There are reminders everywhere they look of those who won’t be returning home. Are they looking for answers as the rest of us are as to why and how this happened, or are they just too overwhelmed with sadness? I don’t know.
What I do know is that the children are in heaven, with Jesus. They’re in a place of no sorrow or pain (Rev. 21:4). Hopefully there will come a time when the survivors of the children can rejoice that they are in that place, but for now they ache, more than ache, they have indescribable pain. This is their time to grieve. The shortest sentence in the bible- Jesus wept, (John 11:35). When Lazarus died, Jesus wept not because he was dead; Jesus knew that he would be raised from the dead, He wept because of the grief that Mary and Martha had been going through for the past few days. When He saw Mary weeping, He didn’t just shed a little tear, the bible says that he groaned and was troubled. He knows and doesn’t dispute the agonizing grief that this community is feeling.
Do I believe that all of those children are in heaven, even the unbelievers? Yes, yes, that’s an emphatic, yes! I had to do some praying and searching however to be sure that this wasn’t just what I hoped to be true. As I was doing some research on the internet the first articles that I came across disputed my hope. There are some who say that children and babies who don’t know Christ won’t go to heaven. Their reason is that Jesus tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). I believe this as truth, but there is still so much more scripture, I do not base my beliefs on one scripture but a compilation of scriptures and the context of those scriptures. There was even an author that mentioned that there are no babies in heaven. Well this is also true; but there are also no seniors, sick, deaf or blind people, there are no wheel chairs, I could go on. When we get to heaven we are given perfect, incorruptible, bodies (Phil. 3:20 &21, 1 Cor. 15: 42-44); for me I’m thinking my 19 year old body, but I could be wrong.
While all children are born wicked, they do not have the ability to make moral decisions. If children made good decisions parents wouldn’t have to baby proof and child proof their homes and cars; there would be no children on harnesses…just sayin’. There is a name for when it is believed that children are aware of right and wrong, “The age of accountability”. Some say the age of accountability is seven years old, and some say that it’s twelve years old. I think it depends on the maturity and understanding of a child rather than an exact age.
Isaiah prophesied about the coming of Immanuel (who is Christ), that as a child there would be a time when He would not know to refuse the evil and choose the good (Is. 7:15-16). If baby Jesus wouldn’t know the how to choose good from evil how could any of us?
God told Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you…” (Jer. 1:5)
When God struck King David’s child with illness (because of David’s sin), David fasted and wept until his child died. When the child died, David cleaned himself up, went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then he went home and ate. This was totally backwards according to how the Israelites grieved. David explained that the child would not be returning, but that David knew that he would again be with his child. (2 Sam. 12:21-22)
Jesus himself reminded the priests and the scribes of the scriptures, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise”.(Matt. 21:15-16)
Jesus also said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14)
So those are my reasons, both practically and scripturally for believing/knowing that all 20 of those children from Newtown are in heaven. My hope and my prayer are for God the wrap his big ol’ arms around that whole community and pull them in close to Him. My hope and my prayer is that His hug, if not immediately, eventually will be received. My hope and my prayer are for the community to have peace and joy return to it. My hope and my prayer is that these loved ones will one day be reunited in heaven.
What about the adults whose lives were taken. My heart is equally broken for their family members, and my prayers are the same for them. I leave you with this.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 that is what these teachers did for someone else’s children, that is the ultimate display of love!