Throughout history and time, the world has undergone such tragedy, heartbreak, and evil. Even in 2014 we deal with the fear of a nationwide plague of Ebola, war, and unjustified violence. The United States is drowning it debt, nuclear warfare seems closer every year, and it’s sad to say children now fear going to school due to horrific school shootings.
As I sit here overlooking all this, I can’t help but ask, where is the justice? Where is the reason? Where is our God in all of this. It has people asking the typical questions, why would God let this happen? Why does God allow these things to happen on earth?
Theologians and philosophers have studied this for years and have concluded it to the fall of mankind at the very beginning with Adam and Eve.
And if you’re like me, sometimes that isn’t enough of an explanation. After a dinner conversation about Columbine one evening, I was fervently curious about it. I was only five years old when it happened, so what I heard about it was very little. The idea of telling a tale so gruesome to a five year old was something my parents were not about. I researched the incident and read horrifying stories as well as survivors finding their purpose years later.
My questions were full of anger; how could God let those two boys do this? Why did He let those kids die for nothing?
Usually that’s the part where my dad says to me, “God is not doing this. We live in a broken world; because of the fall of Adam, this is what happens. We have free will, Mahoney.”
Can’t You do something though? God could do something (ANYTHING) if he wanted to. He could do ANYTHING. He’s God.
The truth is, none of those things satisfied me. I was angry. I was asking these questions but I couldn’t imagine what the victim’s parents were asking. Their broken hearts must still be yearning for answers, and probably will for the rest of their lives.
Think of when Jesus died on the cross. He hung there, dying in one of the most disrespected and ghastly ways to die. I can only try to imagine what the pain he must’ve felt was like. Not only that, but He saw us in our sinful ways. I always liked to believe that He could see how much the world would fall even after He died, and yet He did it anyway. He could see the Columbine shooting, He could see the wars to come, He could see the children dying from child abuse, He could see the serial killers, He could see suicides around every corner, depressed people walking on earth believing no one loves them–He could see it all. He carried those things on His back.
People taunted Him. They said if He was the real Son of God, He could get off the cross and walk away. And the fact was, He could’ve. He could’ve jumped off the cross and road into the clouds never to return.
But He didn’t because He knew this was for something far greater than Himself. He knew that his suffering had significant purpose in something large. And not many understood that. They didn’t understand why He had to die.
And I believe the same goes for us. We never understand God’s mysterious ways (or at least we won’t till later). But the suffering we go through has a greater purpose. God doesn’t take us from our crosses because something bigger is going on that we don’t understand.
God doesn’t make us suffer and He doesn’t let things happen. The Theologians are right, free will and the fall of Adam have led to deep corruption of some souls. God knows life is suffering. He takes that suffering and turns it in to something beautiful.
Though I will never understand why people die so soon and why tragedy hits the world so harshly, I know He is there and His ways are great.
How do you cope with/explain tragedy?