Midst of Tragedy
The infamous question-“Why do bad things happen to good people?"
How do you respond?
A lone gunman perches himself high above the Las Vegas strip with an arsenal at his disposal. He systemically opens fire and kills 59 people and wounds hundreds more. Panic, chaos, disbelief, grief, and horror follow; when the dust settles everyone wants to know “Where is God?”
Answer- right in the midst of the tragedy!
However, when we face suffering or tragedy, we somehow think we are unique, forgetting that since the dawn of time tragedy and suffering are a standard condition of this world.
We live in a broken world that was never God’s original design. He loved us so much that He gave us a choice- choose Him or choose knowledge. We made a decision that was against Him and instead of destroying us on the spot for disobedience he set us off into this broken world to live another day with another chance to be redeemed back to Him. Ironically, He has been giving humanity chance after chance after chance to return to Him and we question why.
What seems so hard for us to grasp is that God isn’t some soft rainbow and sunshine kinda guy. He is the maker of all creation, His mind and thoughts are not like ours; He sees the past, present, and future with perfect clarity. He is a "tough love" parent that isn't always concerned with our comfort, rather concerned with our character- with our reliance and trust in Him. He works in the terrible times that are filled with pain, heartache, anger, and confusion (all God-given emotions I might add) to draw us closer to Him.
God NEVER promised we would live a life free of hardships and tragedies,
but He did promise never to leave us!
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. “~ Isaiah 41:10
“He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” ~ Psalm 91:4
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” ~ Psalm 147:3
What we need to fully understand is that the evil in this world doesn't come from God; it comes from the Prince of this World a/k/a Satan, and it comes from the evil that we allow to flow from our hearts!
It is completely irrational and illogical to blame God who is the only person in this equation that is incapable of evil.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” ~ 1 John 1:5
We need to reconcile that God is always with us; He knows exactly where we are and what we are experiencing.
“Psalm 56:8 David writes, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
In ancient times, small bottles called “lachrymatories” were worn on a string around the neck of mourners to catch the tears that fell throughout the mourning process. When soldiers went off to war, their wives were said to have cried into the tear bottles and wore them until their husbands returned from battle. Their collected tears would show how much they adored and missed their spouse. When David writes, “You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,” he creates a beautiful picture of the love and adoration God has for us.”” Rooted (2011 Mariners Church)
God not only collects our tears but He sheds them for us as well!
In the shortest verse of the entire Bible, we see:
“Jesus wept.” ~John 11:35
Jesus wept for the death and sorrow that is in this world- both then and now. Not only did Jesus cry for us, He died for us. Died so that we could have hope, not in this world, but the next. He died so that we wouldn’t be stuck suffering in this broken world alone with no hope for something better in eternity!
So, instead of looking at this life through a warped view that is marred by evil and horror, look to the goodness that is reflected in the hands of God. Look to the bravery, heroism, and blessings that took place at that Las Vegas concert, the people that were saved, the self-declared agnostic that now professes belief in God, the love, compassion and self-sacrifice that transpired in the middle of a battleground. Look to God's presence in the middle of the suffering, how He is using it for your good!
Bottom line: We live in a corrupt and broken world that was never the design God intended. A world that is a battleground for a war between good and evil and like every war there will always be causalities. The good news is our hope is in God, not that He will magically "fix" everything, but the knowledge that He is with us, giving us strength, guidance, healing, correction & HOPE!
When we are in the midst of tragedy, remember God is right there- collecting our tears, crying over us and working to give us a hope and a future!
We are never alone, therefore, we are not hopeless!
Thank you Lord that your power is eternal and that even when we are hard-pressed we are not crushed, when we are perplexed, we are not desperate, and when we are struck down we are not destroyed. Despite our fallen world, we can live life in full confidence because of the love of Christ. Praise you that we are saved and not forsaken; the battle is yours Lord, and you are already victorious!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-9