Musings on the “Why?”

Why would God allow a deranged person to kill innocent people?  Why were some spared and not others?  How could anyone have deserved this?  Why does God allow suffering to continue?

If you’re looking for some simple answers you’ll be disappointed.  We don’t have any.  

Everyone goes through loss, and most of us ask these questions.

At the same time, I have found some things helpful in terms of my mindset and focus.

Faith is expressed by drawing conclusions about how God operates (and thinks) based on Jesus versus what I think and feel in the moment.  What a challenge that is…  

In Jesus’ day people tried to put everything in a neat little box – “if something goes wrong then somebody must have deserved it.”  Jesus confronts this approach and lets us know where our long-term focus is to be — “look instead for what God can do.”

I love the story recorded in John 9.

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”  (Message Version)

Then Jesus healed the blind man.

There is someone to blame for the shootings in Aurora and the Bible assures us justice will be served sooner or later.

But our primary focus is on what Jesus wants to do in our city in the aftermath of this horrible tragedy.  

For the victims who are asking “Why?” we can walk quietly with them.  We can listen, bring comfort and pray for healing.  We can encourage them to be honest with God about everything they are feeling.

We can fight the temptation to give trite answers to make us feel better.  Have you ever tried to give an answer to someone who is suffering and had them say, “Hey, thanks for those insights.  That totally answers the ‘Why?’ question for me and I feel so much better now…”  Probably not.  Most people just say “thanks for listening and being with me” (even if we tried to give answers).  

As local church communities, instead of being overcome by evil we’re going to try and “look instead for what God can do.”

For sure Jesus wants to destroy the works of evil.  And for sure He wants to reveal His love and life-changing power to the youth of our city.

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