In this world, there is so much heartbreak. There is so much tragedy. It is something we cannot escape. We see it in movies, TV shows, books, and the worst, is the news. Daily we read headlines of school shootings, robberies, buildings catching on fire, people losing their lives to devastating weather conditions, etc. the list could go on forever.
In our textbooks and at any Christian event we can learn about the starving kids in Africa and Haiti. We can read about the turmoil in the Middle East that is displacing thousands upon millions of people from their homes. You see it in Southeast Asia where natives are bond to slavery and labor or children are sold into the sex trafficking industry.
It doesn’t really hit home until you have seen it. You cannot accept that these tragedies actually happen until it happens to you. Growing up, I never had a big tragedy that shattered my life. My parents were divorced from a young age, so I was not affected very much. I lived my life thinking that “those things” happened to “other people”. Then, it happened to me. My freshman year of high school there was a shooting in late February. Never did I ever think in my whole life would I experience such a tragic event.
Flash forward to my senior year of college, my last semester. I am studying abroad in India and one day I get a text from my mother telling me that our house caught on fire. Everything was gone. My mom refused to send me photos of it. The only room that was not touched by a single flame was my bedroom. I had grown up watching fire trucks fly past my house to get the the scene of an incident, watching them put fires out as I drive by, and telling others who have experienced this that I would pray for them. Then, it happened to me.
We live our lives believing that “these things” only happen to “other people”.
But when it happens to us, we ask…
God, why is this happening?
God, why did you let this happen?
God, I thought you were good.
God, why didn’t you protect me from letting that happen?
Does this sound familiar at all? I mean, how could God really be loving and caring and sovereign in the midst of such tragedy? Is He just sitting on His throne, sipping on some water He turned into wine, as His creation stumbles and suffers?
These are real questions. And they are okay to ask.
In fact, they draw us closer to God. I would rather question God about the tragedies that are happening than not even acknowledge His presence in the situation.
If you go on social media after a tragedy, you can see debates about who’s fault it is. You see fingers pointed to the government and simple arguments started over the theological perspectives on it. It is heartbreaking and continues to carry out the pain we all feel, when in reality, we all just want peace and healing.
But how do we achieve such peace and healing if we continue to point fingers and look at the negative? Is blaming God for all the bad that happens in the world going to fix it? No, it’s not going to stop the war in Syria, it’s not going to bring back the lives of the students that were lost in all the school shootings in 2018 (yet another debate), it’t not going to undo the fire that took away my childhood home.
All in all, we can close the debate saying that man is just born evil and freewill gets the best of God’s creation. But that is not a satisfying answer. Where do we find such a satisfying answer? Where do we find an answer that will help us sleep at night and not be afraid to send our children to school? If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, I am about to say something that you will completely disagree with.
Folks, we find that answer in God. We find this peace we are looking for in God. The world will never become completely purified of evil until Jesus returns, and that may not be in our lifetime. We must remember that this is not our home. We endure this suffering and watch as this place turns upside down in catastrophe, but we cannot live everyday as if we are deemed to live here forever.
Jesus didn’t live like that, so why should we?
God knows what suffering feels like. God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to be with us here on Earth. And do you know what happened to Him? He was beaten. He was persecuted. He was hung on a cross and left to die. All for the sake of you and I. So that one day, when the pain and suffering all ceases to exit, we can see God in all His glory, face to face, with no separation because of sin.
He did it willingly.
If that is not suffering, then I am not sure what is.
I do not want to end this post on a negative note. I want to end with the hope we have in Christ. Friends, please read the following scripture below:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking noting. |James 1.2-4 |
We aren’t told to dwell and hang our heads in gloom when the trials come. We are told to count it as joy. And through these trials, God is perfecting each one of us. The best thing about the Gospel is that Jesus not only died willingly, but He defeated death and rose again three days later.
Take heart, my dear friends, Jesus has overcome this world.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
| Revelation 21.4 |