Sunday, September 11, 2016
Today is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Most Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was at work when my wife called me to tell me what she saw on TV. I turned my radio on and listened all day as the news reports came in. I think that most people wonder why God allowed something so terrible to happen.
This year the news has been filled with the horrible atrocities carried out by ISIS. The truck killings in Nice, France killed over 80 people. 2016 saw the deadliest mass shooting in American history in carried out in Orlando, Florida. There are many places around the world where terrible things are happening. Yesterday in church we heard from missionaries who had been working in Venezuela for the past 11 years. The situation is currently so bad that they had to leave the country.
The past couple of months have been hard ones for our family. We don't understand why this is happening. Why does God allow these things to happen? I think that is one of the biggest questions in Christianity.
There are many events that cause people to ask, "why". I don't have the answers as to why so many tragedies happen. I do know that ever since sin came into this world through Satan there have been terrible tragedies. I suppose that Adam and Eve asked "why" when Cain killed his brother Abel.
The only promise that a Christian has in this life is that there will be trouble. Our trouble free existence will be in Heaven where God will wipe away all tears.
When a tragedy happens, God says to ask your questions, but don't stop there. God has given a much greater opportunity. God challenges us to turn to Him for answers. God challenges us to argue with Him. God challenges us to trust Him explicitly.
Bad things happen in this world, to good people, and to bad people, although it seems like the good people get the worst. Why do bad things happen to good people? More specifically, why do bad things happen to me? God rarely answers that question. He would pour out only goodness on us all the time if He could, but because we live in a sinful world, He can't. Men have free will, and God will not override it.
Why do bad things happen to good people? It is because we live in a sinful world. I know that's not the kind of answer we like, but there is no better answer available.
Once you have learned this and deepened your faith that God has everything under control, then maybe there is a better way to approach the bad things that happen. Don't ask "Why Me, Lord?" when something bad happens. Ask God how He wants you to respond, and then leave the consequences in His hands.
It is all in our response. God can always bring good out of bad, but He needs us to cooperate with Him to bring out the greatest good. This is why Paul can say "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." Rejoice when good things happen, rejoice when bad things happen because we can trust God to do what is for our eternal best.