Tragedy never makes sense. Several years ago, my cousin sat watching television when the reporter began speaking about a double homicide. The house in the clip belonged to her daughter and son-in-law. She fell apart.
Investigators soon learned, for reasons that no one understands to this day, that my cousin’s son-in-law shot his wife and drowned his 16-month-old baby girl then flew to Las Vegas where he committed suicide.
Sadly, I know multiple people who have lost a friend, a spouse, or a child to tragedy. I also know people who think a loving God could not possibly be real since so much evil is rampant in this world. Ironically, many of these same people are deeply offended at a God they profess does not exist.
Even as Christians, it is not uncommon to grapple with these issues. Although there are many opinions, discussions, and theological debates on such matters, there are no easy answers—especially for those most affected.
God’s Thoughts Are Good
Jeremiah, the prophet, sent these words in a letter to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive to Babylon:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Keep in mind that these elders were in captivity. God’s words sound so contrary to their situation. Why didn’t God just rescue them that very second? Most of us would cry out, “But God, if you really have thoughts of peace and not of evil, why did you let this happen! Rescue me—now!”
We do a disservice to God, and confound ourselves, when we think we can understand the mind of the very One who spoke the world into existence. We do an even greater disservice when we doubt His love and good intentions toward us.
At some point, we must truly decide to live by faith—faith that God is GOD, and even if we do not understand everything that happens in our lives or in the world, He is still deserving of our praise and worship.
I stood near my cousin when someone asked about her tragic loss. She gave them the brief version. Then, the person asked, “How did you keep from getting angry at God?” My cousin replied, “I know God didn’t do this. Now, I walk in the Light of Jesus Christ, believing that I will see my daughter and granddaughter again.”
Someone asked Rev. Billy Graham why bad things happen to good people, and he delivered three truths to consider when pondering such a question:
Sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience. [We live in a fallen world where light and dark currently exist]
There will come a time when evil will be banished into everlasting fire, prepared for Satan and his angels. [God is a God of mercy, but He is also a God of justice]
- God will never leave us nor forsake us. [As we walk through this life, He walks with us; our eternal hope is set on Him]
Although there are days my cousin still struggles with understanding why such a horrific tragedy happened, she has more days where she holds onto God and the belief that this life is not the end. She will see her daughter and granddaughter again.
The way I have personally come to grip with tragedy, especially the pain caused to those I love, is to admit I don’t have the answer to the “Why, God?” question. I resist the urge to feel like I must somehow defend God as if He is suddenly on trial. I also resist the urge to try and make sense out of an act that makes no sense at all.
Instead, I pray—I pray fervently for those who are suffering. I confess to God that I do not understand and ask Him to pour out more grace. I pray for peace, strength, and more of His presence. And, I hold fast to the knowledge that even when life is painful and souls are shattered, God has not changed. He is still love. He is still good. And, He is still my Abba, Father.
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