One Vital Response in the Fight Against Evil

It’s been a little more than two weeks since a young man walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers. Two weeks may be the average life span of a national story these days, so most people are now going back to their own version of a normal life.



Subliminal Amnesia

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deut. 4:9). 


It’s not that we callously try to forget. It’s more subtle than that. Forgetting is our subconscious defense mechanism. It happens with little to no effort.


It is uncomfortable and potentially debilitating to linger too long on tragedy. Who needs a constant reminder of the evil we face in an increasingly hostile world? Who needs a constant nightmarish feeling that it could have been my child screaming with terror at the sound of gunfire?


No, thank you.


It’s much more sensible to don our blinders and keep moving forward. It’s convenient to forget. Unfortunately, it’s not Biblical.


The Biblical writers taught us to remember. The existence of the Bible itself is a tribute to the importance of remembering.


The biblical record is ruthless in its insistence that we remember not only the glory days of God’s people but also the dark days; not only the church’s victories but also her pitiful failures.


The Biblical lament was custom-made for this remembering. It was a soulful confession of the singer’s connection to the problem and remorse for his complicity in the terror. It was a raw railing against God’s silence and ultimately, a healing balm for the nation.


The power of the Biblical lament was that it refused to cower in the face of evil but instead leaned into the pain, naming it, confronting it, and overcoming it through the agonizing work of remembering.


Here, then, is a Biblical lament for Uvalde. May we feel the pain. May we never forget.


A Biblical Lament for Uvalde, Texas

“Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people” (Jer. 9:1).

“How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” (Hab.1:2).


I lament, O God, for my brothers and sisters who have been slain.

My heart cries out to you for the little ones, singing their A-B-Cs just before the screams.

When I hear their sweet swan song, help me hear my own children singing with the breath that is still in their lungs.

And make me mourn over them as if they were my very own.

Keep their innocent faces ever before me.

And make me live with the ugly pain of what could have been – the heavy loss of the great symphony that will never be written, or some beautiful song that will never be sung.

Help me sing the bitter song of Rachel weeping for her children, for they are no more (Mt. 2:18).

Hear my prayer, O Lord!


“Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people” (Jer. 9:2).

“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds” (Hab. 1:3).


Do not let me escape, O Lord!

I lament, O God, for the sickness lodged deep in the human heart.

I lament that I am a shadowy image of the mad archer and his bow.

I lament over every gory desensitizing scene I have funded on the gilded screen.

Do not let me escape, O Lord!

I lament over every dehumanizing phrase I have affirmed with my stony silence.

I lament over every wicked instinct for revenge I have fostered in my heart.

I lament over every idol I have forged from powder and steel.

Do not let me escape, O Lord!

Hear my prayer!


“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?” (Psalm 44:23-24)

“Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 44:26).


Where are you, O God?

Why are you so far away?

When will this wickedness end?

Why does your unfailing love fall silent?

When will you rescue us from ourselves?


Hear my prayer, O Lord.

Forgive me for my sins.

Help me to turn from my wicked ways.

Heal my land (2 Chron. 7:14).