Inspiring Others to Love Deeply, Engage Creatively, and Give Generously
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Why Did God Allow This?
This question is not new and is often asked by those of great faith as well as those who are not believers at all. Anytime the unexpected or unthinkable happens, the first question to come to mind whether expressed verbally or not is often “Why?” Why so young? Why so soon? Why so much suffering? Why would God allow it? The more egregious the circumstances are, the more likely we are to ask the “Why God” questions and express anger at some level with the perpetrator of the tragedy as well as God himself.
As Christians we are not exempt from questioning God or experiencing and expressing anger at God in our most intense moments of shock and grief. Some may wonder if questioning God or being angry with God is “allowed,” or will such things bring about God’s wrath on the individual who is questioning and /or angry. After all, if we believe that God is capable of doing such awful things for reasons we can’t understand, what might He do if we dared to question or be angry with Him?
Recently, twenty very young children and six adults lost their lives when a young man came to their elementary school with guns and started shooting. It was a senseless and violent act that has left many asking that “Why God?” question and (truth be told) rocked the faith of some of the most stalwart of Christians. In the aftermath of this tragedy it is only a natural and normal grief reaction for us in our humanity to feel anger and even to question God with some level of anger. Does that make those of us who are believers and Christians “bad” people and does the expression of strong feelings in reaction to such tragic news cause a permanent rift in God’s love for us? The answer, I believe, is best found in Romans. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -- Romans 8: 38-39
The truth is that God does not separate Himself from us, period. In all things and situations, God is present and His love is constant. So, one might ask, where was God when that gunman started his rampage against those innocent children and their teachers? He may have seemed to many of us to be absent, but He was not. His promise to “never leave or forsake” found in Hebrews (13:5) is also a constant truth. In our humanity we may perceive God to be “absent” because these lives were not spared, but that is our human understanding and perception. To fully comprehend the “why” questions of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook massacre, we would have to be capable of thinking and feeling as God does, and that is not possible. We are still very much human beings with human minds, logic, and emotions. God’s ways clearly are not our ways, and we must accept to the extent humanly possible that we will never fully understand Him. However, we can be certain that His love and presence are unfailing – even in the most horrific of circumstances. God was with those students and their teachers and even the person with the weapon, and I believe that God’s grief and sadness that day were profound as he saw one of His creation commit an unspeakable act of violence and foresaw the overwhelming sadness and grief that would follow in the lives of the loved ones left behind to grieve and mourn this terrible loss. Most importantly let us never forget that God understands fully the grief of a parent as He gave up the life of His only Son, Jesus, on the cross.
As we ask the questions for which there are no real answers or explanations, we can be assured that God’s love is still very present and real. His grace and mercy are big enough to handle anything, and while we may question and even shake our fists at the events that we perceive to be terribly unfair, God is not surprised and He does not stop loving us because we are human. He instead chooses to love us because we are human. How many of us as parents stop loving our children when they ask the “why” questions and express their anger at us for what they perceive to be a failure or lapse of judgment in us as their parent? We may be hurt by our children and disappointed in their reaction, but as parents we see the “big picture” that our children can not. The same is true for God (on a much more profound scale) as our Heavenly Father. He sees and understands far more than we ever can and knows the pain that we feel in our humanity. Our reactions and questions are not a surprise to God at all. Instead, He chooses to love us through that pain and help us find our way to a place of healing. All He asks in return is that we trust Him enough to allow Him to do what He does best….love us unconditionally in all circumstances. ~Winnie