Murder-Suicide and Sovereignty

As many of you know, this week one of my law firm colleagues, Elizabeth Fontaine, died in an apparent murder-suicide, along with her mother and two young daughters, Julia (age two) and Catherine (age four).  The local news has reported that Elizabeth and her mother cooperated in the shooting of the children and took their own lives, all as a result of a custody battle gone terribly wrong.

It would be a gross understatement to say this has hit close to home.  The details of the killings as reported in the news are shocking and disturbing.  Worse yet, the people in my office have had to come to grips with the fact that our friend and colleague may be responsible for taking the lives of her own little girls.  This wasn’t some psychopathic stranger — this was Elizabeth.  Seeing her picture on the news stories is surreal.  And while I was not close friends with Elizabeth or her family, the death of her little girls grieves me deeply because I see in them my own children of the same ages.  Elizabeth was pregnant at the same time and gave birth very close to Jennifer with each of her two girls.  Now those girls are gone, victims of an unspeakably brutal death.

We may never know the full truth about what happened that day and all of the events that led up to it.  No one is left to answer the many questions that remain.  Over and over, I think, “Why??  If what they are saying is true, how could you?”

Over the past few days, I have heard and read many reflections of the grief and anger that I feel about this tragedy.  Many point the finger of blame at Elizabeth, her mother, or the court system.  I wonder, though, how many people have stopped to think about where God was in all of this.  Couldn’t he have prevented this?  Why didn’t he?

I believe the Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things, including this murder-suicide.  That doesn’t make what happened any less heinous.  It does mean, though, that God wasn’t asleep or out on vacation when it happened.  As sinful and abhorrent as the killings were, God reigned sovereign over all the events that took place on Monday.  That’s what I keep coming back to when thoughts of anger and bewilderment stir up in my mind.  I know that God is good and perfect in his love.  I know that he is the all wise and all just judge of the universe; nothing escapes his judgments.  Above all, I know that all things are in his hands, and even when it’s impossible for us to grasp how he could have allowed something like this to happen (much less how he can be good in allowing it to happen), we can trust him.  One day, God will right all of the wrongs that were done to little Julia and Catherine.  We have sorrow and grief for now, but some day God himself will wipe away every tear.

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