I am a native Floridian and remember well the horror in 1981 when Adam Walsh, the six year old son of John and Reve Walsh, was abducted from a Hollywood, Florida mall, and then subsequently murdered and beheaded. It was with tears that I read this week that the 27 year old case was finally closed by the Hollywood Police Department. Adam’s murderer was believed to be a drifter named Ottis Toole who died in prison in 1996. Police chief, Chad Wagner, announced this week that if Toole were still alive he would be arrested for the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh.
The pain the Walshs’ have endured is beyond words. I was especially gripped by John Walsh’s statement this week, "For 27 years, we have been asking ourselves, 'Who would take a 6-year-old boy and murder him and decapitate him? Who? ' "
I am grateful that the Walshs’ have received some sense of closure. May the Lord comfort them and strengthen them in the days ahead. They have championed the righteous pursuit and protection of missing and abducted children in the United States.
It would be sad enough if Adam Walsh were the only child brutalized in this world, but presently there are 80,000 children missing in the United States, and statistics show that 75% of them are dead within the first three house of abduction. With such statistics, the pain of this world becomes frontal. For me, there is only one comfort among this massive sorrow. My comfort is the hope found in Jesus Christ.
It was into such a world that Jesus Christ was born. A world saturated with tears and sorrow and violence and hatred. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, we read of Herod’s response after being tricked by the magi. Filled with wrath, he dispatched his soldiers to go to Bethlehem and kill all the male children from two years old and under. John Walsh’s question comes to mind, “Who would do such a thing?”
Matthew notes that this slaughter of the children by Herod was a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy,
“A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE." (2:18)
From Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s cross Jesus Christ tasted the pain of this world. He identified with us. He walked among sinners, and yet never transgressed Himself, and ultimately gave His life on the cross as a once-for-all payment for sins that to those who turn from their sins and believe on Him, they shall pass from death into life. His death was not final, for three days later He arose from dead proving that He could really save, and that He was really who He said He was….God. (John 14:1-9)
Someone once said that if tears were indelible ink we would all be stained forever. For those in Christ, our great Savior has given to us a living hope for the tears of this life. He is also preparing a place for those who trust Him where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Rev. 21:4)