It seems whenever something bad happens the question comes up, “How can a loving God allow this to happen.” This question can be a good thing, leading to a healthy exploration of ones faith. This can lead to a deeper faith and a greater love and relationship with God. Or, this can be a bad thing that leads us down a path to bitterness, anger and hatred of God.
Recent tornadoes have killed a great many people. Let me come right out and say that I don’t know why God allowed some to be killed while sparing others. I don’t know why God allowed small children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters to be killed. You see, I am pretty smart; but God IS SO MUCH SMARTER THAN ME!!
I remember as a child there were a great many things that my parents did that I did not understand. Sometimes these things seem mean or even cruel to my childish mind. Now, however, as a parent myself, I understand these things in a way I never could have before. I am not saying that someday, when we are gods, we will understand God’s ways. But, the Bible does say, “Now I know in part; but then I shall know fully, even as I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12. I don’t believe this to mean that we will become all knowing, as God is. But, I do believe it means that we will have a greater understanding of things. I believe that as we look back at many of the events in our lives, both tragic and triumphant, they will make a lot more sense.
That’s great, but we have failed to answer the original questions.
HOW COULD GOD LET THIS HAPPEN?
A few years ago a man in our church asked me this very question. I had known this man for a while, but did not know this about him. Turns out he had a young child that diagnosed with cancer and died at a very young age. I believe the loss of a child to be the greatest pain that a parent will ever experience. So, this man asked me this same question. At that point I was still very new to ministry. This was the first time I had been approached with this very difficult question. I can only give credit to the Holy Spirit that I was able to speak at all. What I told him was very profound. I said:
“I DON’T KNOW!”
Ok maybe that wasn’t very profound, but it was the truth. What God gave me next was really good. I went on to explain to this man that, while I couldn’t explain why God would allow something like this, I knew that God could use this to help others. You see, I have never experienced the death of a child and I pray that I never will. For this reason my ability to minister to a family going through this is limited. “BUT,” I told him, “You can minister to someone going through this in a way that I never could, because I have not experienced it.” I told him that, if he was willing, someday God would give him a chance to minister to someone because of his own experience. I am not saying that God causes these things to happen so that we are better prepared to minister to people going through similar tragedy. What I am saying is that some good can come from these types of tragic events.
Naturally if you are in the midst of going through such tragedy then it is not the time to share this truth. Most people, even Christians, will find little comfort in this at the time of their deepest pain. But, there will come a time when they are ready for this conversation.
If you are the person going through such unspeakable tragedy let me first say that I am sorry. I am unable to understand your pain. I don’t and can’t understand what you are going through, but somewhere there is someone who has been through something similar and does understand. Seek that person out.
If you are someone who has gone through a similar tragedy in the past, then seek out those who are hurting now. What better tribute to the person YOU lost than to use your experience to help someone else with their pain.
For me I offer what I can, my prayers. While I have never lost a child, God has. He sent His Son here knowing that it would lead to his death. I can’ t understand, but God does. Today I pray for those involved in this terrible tragedy.Matt Norman
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