Where Are You In Tragedy?
First, let me say that this post is in response to an article I found in Zionica. The author uses three examples to ask three questions. The first example is that of a baby goat apparently almost killed by a raccoon. The kid “had been bloodied almost to death,” records the writer. Then, the classic and seemingly mandated question was asked, “Why would God allow a precious little kid, entirely innocent, to be violently attacked and disfigured?”
The second example offered by the writer was the brutal murder of his cousin on her twenty-first birthday. Again, another agonizing question was put forth, “How could God have let this happen?”
The third and final example recorded by the author was that of 9/11. This time the question is even more poignant, “Does God even exist?” I am sure had the author written this article July 21, 2012 the shooting in Colorado would have been included.
I do not want to minimize any of these terrible examples of pain and suffering. Even though the author of the article, “Where is God in Tragedies?” concluded with two valid points, I think a third point could have and should have been made. The author concluded with a great point that many times the question of where is God is nothing more than a protest against God for allowing such things to upset our “peaceful and tranquil” lives. He write, “Often, our question of suffering is self-focused, not theological…” Secondly, he mentions the existence of sin as a reason for many of the atrocities that occur.
I think a major point that needs to be made is not “why did God let this happen, or where is God or why couldn’t He have stopped this _______ (fill in the blank) from happening.” I think the question that we should be asking, is “why not me?” Maybe we could re-phrase a little and ask, “Where am I?”
The author made an excellent point when he wrote, “Strikingly, no one seems to complain that God has set before us many opportunities to idolize ourselves. I have never heard anyone saying how irksome it is to be given the freedom to indulge the self in pleasure and self-exaltation—to overeat, to boast, to gossip, to get drunk. Nobody shouts at God for allowing them to sin in their favorite ways.” Isn’t that great?
We have no right to question God. We have no right to question His wisdom, His purpose, or His decrees. God is beyond any dispute or cross-examination. Listen to what He says,
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is no like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” (Isaiah 46:8010, ESV)
God may not choose to reveal His reason or His purposes for what we conceive or perceive as tragedies. He is not on trial and won’t be examined or cross-examined as Job very well found out. Events such as 9/11, or Columbine, or Colorado, should bring us to a place where we thank and praise God that we were spared and that those events become lessons where we recognize God’s sovereignty as well as our vulnerability.
The question is not where is God or why did God allow this to happen? The question is why not me? We should learn that unless we too repent we may perish as those at Columbine, Colorado, the author’s cousin, etc. We should run to God and thank Him that it was not us and for the fact that we were spared.
Take a real hard look and learn from Matthew, “There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5, ESV)
Even though God may have a myriad of divine reasons for the various tragedies that He allows in our lives, He may never disclose those reasons to us. We cannot judge those who have been so horribly affected various tragedies to be any greater of a sinner than anyone else. We need to see eight distinct principles and we need to learn eight lessons from Colorado:
1. God is absolutely sovereign in all matters and He is perfect in all that He does. He does things according to His own good pleasure and purpose and does not seek counsel from any human being.
2. God’s absolute grace toward His creatures prevent each one of us from receiving what we truly deserve. Each demonstration of Gods’ grace toward us is a reminder that grace is that “unmerited favor” which God lavishes on His creation.
3. Each and every “tragic” event is a reminder that we are vulnerable, our life is short, and that our days are limited and we will all die and face God as our judge. The moment and means of our death had been set before God created the heavens and the earth.
4. Each and every “tragic” event is a clarion call to turn to God, to repent of our sin and sins and to cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness.
5. Each and every “tragic” event is not a platform to question God’s reasoning and/or purpose, but it is an invitation to look to God for salvation
6. Each and every “tragic” event is an opportunity for the true bride of Christ to function as Christ’s ambassadors on earth by demonstrating and making know the marvelous character and nature of our God through the ministry of reconciliation and good deeds.
7. Each and every “tragic” event has been designed and permitted by God with a unique and specific purpose to be accomplished in the lives of each person affected by such events.
“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:5)
8. Each and every ‘tragic” event should never be attributed to bad luck, misfortune, a “waco-fringe element,” bizarre behavior, or mentally/morally deranged individuals. Each one of us needs to take note that God is at work in His sovereign wisdom, and each one of us needs to respond accordingly.
May we cease with the folly of asking where God is and why didn’t He prevent the shooting in Colorado. May we praise God that we were not present in Colorado that night. May we pray for and find a way to serve those who are experiencing this horrible tragedy with means that reveal God’s character and nature to them in a salvific manner.
Where are you in this tragedy?