“How could a good God allow this to happen?”
“Where was God in all this?”
And the simpler but more direct: “why God?”
Those are all excellent and fair questions in times like this and similar to ones I ask myself. First off I’d say we shouldn’t try to look for simple or pat answers in times like this. God is mysterious at times and his ways our not our ways (Isaiah 55:7). We need to rest in his sovereignty and perfect plan. We also live in a fallen world and so disaster and tragedy should be expected. Still, God doesn’t leave us hanging in times like this.
Jesus said this in John 16 as a reminder when we ask ‘why God?’: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We serve a God who knows what it’s like to suffer as well. Jesus was betrayed and abandoned by his friends, he was tortured, mocked and ridiculed by those he came to love and save and ultimately faced capital punishment for a crime he didn’t commit suffering the agony of the cross and the weight of the sin of the world. As Paul reminds us in his letter to the church of Rome: “While we were stills sinners, Jesus died for the ungodly.” (Rom.5:8)
So God knows and more importantly, he acts to bring comfort and meaning to senseless tragedies like this. So how could God allow this to happen? He gives us free will and we have choices such as the choice to accept or reject him. Where was God? In the same place he’s always been. God is still on the throne, he’s not surprised by what’s going on and he’s already working as we’ve seen in the outpouring of love and respect across the country. In an era where we’re becoming increasingly polarized and angry Humboldt has been a unifying force for this country.
Last but not least- ‘why God?’ We ultimately don’t know but we know we follow a God who’s been there, who loved us enough to send his son to die for us and is working even now to bring comfort and meaning to this tragedy.
I read the transcript and watched the message Humboldt pastor and Bronco’s team chaplain Sean Brandow gave at the memorial service for the victims that was held last Sunday. It was a powerful, spirit-led moment and explained this far better than I could and I close with it:
What will you do with one breath? Each breath that you have left, what are you going to do with it? Will you seek the God who has walked and who has died to show his love and his concern and his care for you? Or will you get bitter and angry and frustrated? Come to the God of comfort.
I want to read one verse, one verse. This is from Paul, the book of Romans, chapter 15, verse 13: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.’
I told my church this this morning, I’ve never felt so empty in my life. I needed to be reminded of Jesus, I needed to hear from God in this darkness. I didn’t have anything to give because I wasn’t full of hope myself. As the verse ends, you know, may God fill you with that. God can fill you up so that you can be a blessing to somebody else, but if you don’t have hope, you can’t be a blessing to anyone else.
I want you to be full of hope, through the person of Jesus Christ. We receive him by faith, knowing full well what he has done and what he has accomplished.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that.
Isn’t that amazing? Pastor Sean’s words were so powerful. The truth is I don’t have all the answers either to why we suffer but I know who does, and who to look towards and that gives me a living hope and answers my ‘why?’ questions.