Rachel’s Tears

“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. Then what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” Matthew 2:16-18

Joseph, warned in a dream, takes Mary and the infant Jesus on a journey to Egypt and safety. But what about the others? What became of Bethlehem’s mothers, whose lost children shattered their hearts and caused copious tears to flow?

Herod’s decision to kill all children age two and under, stands as one of the world’s most cruel actions. To lose a child to illness or accident is traumatic in itself. But, to lose a child by order of a ruler . . . how do you come to terms with such a senseless act of  cruelty?

We know nothing of Bethlehem’s mothers, other than Matthew’s poignant words:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” Matthew 2:18

I’d like to think there were other children born, to fill empty arms. But, this we do not know.   Rachel’s tears continue to flow at places like Sandy Hook and Uvalde schools, with Ukraine’s weeping mothers, and wherever children are caught in the crossfire of  violence, that  stalks the streets of our cities.

There are no simple answers to pain of this scale. Acknowledging that evil and evil people exist in our world, gives little  comfort to hearts that bleed. For the parents  of lost children, every day caries the weight of loss.

The Bible is no stranger to pain and cries of grief.   I once heard Henri Nouwen say, “The good news of the Gospel is not that God has come to take our pain away, but that God has come to be with us in it.”

God is present in all our griefs and losses. God walks with each of us in our pain, anger and heartache. God’s promise is  to be with us in the darkest, most pain filled moments of life, to comfort hearts ripped open, give strength to endure and plant hope for a better, yet unseen future.

There will come a day  when God,  wipes all tears from our eyes, and  death, suffering, crying, and  pain will end. 

The Gospel of John says of Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

 

 

 

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