Why Does God Allow Tragedies?
The school shooting in Connecticut yesterday was horrific. I can barely think about it without crying. Innocent little children, brave teachers – gunned down…why?? Who would do something like that?
So many people – angry at this crime, hurting for these families – ask “Why would a ‘loving’ God allow this?”
I believe God knows everything, that nothing takes him by surprise. I believe he is all powerful, there is nothing he cannot do. And I also believe God gives us free will to make choices that he does not want us to make. All the way back in the Garden of Eden, God wanted Adam and Eve to do what he asked: to enjoy this paradise, but to avoid one tree. Adam and Eve chose not to obey God. God could have stopped them before they ate that fruit. He could have hopped down and ripped it from their hands. But he didn’t. Why?
Because if God forces us to do what he wants us to, we have no free will. We are puppets who do what we do because we are forced to do it. God doesn’t want puppets. He wants sons and daughters. So he allows us to choose him or reject him. He allows us to follow his example of goodness and sacrificial love. Or we can, like Adam and Eve, follow the Evil One, who, in his arrogance, was expelled from heaven for choosing to believe he was greater than God, that he didn’t need to follow the rules God established.
Jesus Christ came to set us free from slavery to sin. He came to bring life – abundant life. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins we committed so we wouldn’t have to pay that penalty. He rose from the dead because He is God and only God can defeat death. He is real and active. His Holy Spirit lives inside those of us who know Him, guiding us, helping us, comforting us. With His power, we can choose what is right, what is good. We can make choices that help to heal those who are broken and comfort those who are hurting. We can choose to forgive those who have wronged us.
Do not allow the Evil One to compound this tragedy by feeding you the lie that it is God’s fault. Humans that choose to ignore God, to use their freedom to mock God and his righteousness bring evil into this world. God does not. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1 that “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” So let us live in that freedom, let us walk in that freedom. Let us use that freedom to bring good into the world – the way God did for us that first Christmas.