Disclaimer: This blog is heavy and will be emotionally unsatisfying today. Sorry.
As a part-time chaplain I witnessed the results of a pre-teen boy committing suicide, the death of children, and many adults clutching the bodies of their deceased spouses. In Southern California this month an 11-year-old girl killed an 10-year-old girl over a boy. As I sit in my comfortable home today, there is a nation-wide genocide happening on the other side of the world in Syria. This month we’ve witnessed tornados destroy families in minutes. This weekend was the one-year anniversary of the tsunami in Japan where more 15,000 people suddenly lost their lives and thousands more are still missing.
Where is God? Or, Is there a God?
If God loves, has He lost control? If He’s in control, does He not love?
How can you watch a newscast and still believe that God loves and is in control?
This may seem like a “pastor’s conversation” until you face your own personal tragedy. In those difficult moments, we all ask these same questions.
Our human story, as you know, began in a garden according to Scripture. Apparently no problem, no tragedies. (Modern-day news agencies would have struggled to produce a newscast in a problem-free environment, huh?) 🙂
When God gave His one rule, our ancestors eventually chose to disobey, distrust, and rebel. As God promised, the result of sin would be death and separation.
Now, I can’t connect the dots to our lives today. But the pattern continues. My sin + your sin + the sin of everyone else continues to cause death and separation. Our world is broken.
Does the punishment always fit the crime? Jesus said, “No”. (See the blind man who was blinded for God’s glory rather than punishment of his sin in John 9.) Our sin contributes to the world’s brokenness resulting in death and separation.
Because of sin, you will die. So will I and everyone I love. If you believe that people actually live after death then focusing on how and when they die is a small perspective.
God’s solution addresses the real problems: death and separation. His solution (Jesus) offers eternal life and a relationship with God. Back to the problem-free environment enjoyed by our ancestors in the garden. We will continue to experience brokenness but God offers the promise of a perfect, eternal future.
In the meantime, tragedies won’t diminish God’s character of power and love. Rather, tragedies reveal the pattern He established with us at the very beginning. Fortunately, He provided an eternal plan of redemption which may not emotionally satisfy today but He will satisfy all of our tomorrows.