I really wish I could give a non-Christianese answer to conduits of my faith who ask questions like “If your God is so good, why does He allow stuff like 9/11 happen? How about Sandy Hook?”
Now we can add the Boston Marathon to the list of tragedies that leave us despondent over the state of the world in which we live.
The answer is, truthfully, I don’t think we will ever really know why such tragedies must occur on this side of heaven.
Sure, I get we live in a very fallen world and we have ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
Sure, I get there is indeed an enemy force. If there is good, there is evil.
And sure, I get why there’s sin in the world.
However, I’m not going to lie . . . There are moments I look to the heavens, shake my fists and just say “Really, God?”
But you know what I hear from Him when I do this?
“Yes. I know. It breaks my heart, too.”
“So why can’t God step-in and stop it?” they ask. “If He’s all-powerful, then why can’t He keep it from happening?”
Free will is very hard to understand. I’m still trying to comprehend all its sneaky facets, too.
Sometimes saying “I don’t know” is the bravest thing I can muster.
All the same, there are moments in which I just shakily walk onto the invisible step and trust He understands things better than I do.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
I have confidence in what I hope for because He reassures His desire for my good. Someday, the good He has in-store for me will be to leave this earth and finally meet Him face-to-face.
The conduits respond with “Well, if He is all about your good, why must you die tragically at the hand of a terrorist/from cancer/in a car accident?”
It won’t be good for my loved ones left behind but He’s weaving His story through them, too, and my leaving this earth is part of it.
Our God is a God who heals. Sometimes the best way to heal us is to take us home to be with Him.
I don’t profess to have the answers. I most definitely am not a Pharisee pounding my gavel in a courtroom. And I admit to being confused by God’s modus operandi at times.
But I do know this: His ways are not our ways.
And I really know this: He makes beauty from ashes. Every time.
He takes the residue left behind by the enemy and starts to weave it into the beautiful tapestry of humanity He’s been weaving for thousands of years.
He is the ultimate follower of the philosphy “When life give you lemons, make lemonade.”
He made some great lemonade following 9/11. He made a really sweet batch after Sandy Hook. And He’s creating a delicious pitcher now.
I am not at all trivializing the loss of innocent lives. I have been saddened by all three of the above tragedies and my heart is broken for their loved ones.
But yes, beauty from ashes. Lemonade from lemons.
Sweet revenge in the form of goodness and beauty.
Yep, I’ll step out on that invisible step.
Enjoy this incredible song from Know Hope Collective called “Build Us Back.” This particular video was made following the earthquakes in Japan in 2011. The lyrics are powerful.
Good morning Natalie!
It’s funny as I was reading this post, “Everlasting God” is playing in the background. Like you, and many others, I have moments where I wrestle with understanding how these things happen when we serve such a loving God. I told a friend that it seemed pointless to pray for a world filled with peace. Yet, God is so good and so sovereign that He takes what the enemy intends for harm and uses for His good–our good.
Yes, there is evil in the world, but I truly believe and perhaps this is overly optimistic, that for every act of evil there is an infinite amount of good in this world. On Monday, we witnessed a bombing, but we also witnessed people running towards the wreckage to help their peers. We witnessed virtual prayers sweeping across the web. We saw compassion. We saw in the midst of tragedy God’s heart in the way we loved on one another.
Unfortunately, there will always be this kind of evil in the world. But, this doesn’t malign God’s character. This kind of evil does not prevail. God is both loving and just. He gives each of us free will and because of that there will be the minority who choose to do harm. We have to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world, particularly those who don’t know the measure of God’s love for them. Most importantly we have to continue to be the light because only light drives out darkness.
Thank you for your beautiful post and that amazing worship song!