From the Columbine shootings in 1999 to the UCC shooting in my hometown of Roseburg, OR, to the Las Vegas shooting earlier this year, and most recently the church massacre in Sutherland, TX,
outside of San Antonio, certainly raised the same question we always seem to ask in the wake of a tragedy like a shooting or a child having cancer: IF there is a God, why did he allow this to happen?
It certainly seems a fair question given how much we believers tell everyone we worship a LOVING God who wants the best for us. So how can we reconcile that belief with the pain with a senseless shooting or a loss of a loved one, any time of year, but especially around the holidays?
Simply put, in my opinion, THIS is not the world God created. What God created for us in Eden was perfection, harmony and life in a balance with nature. He gave us but one rule, to not eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Sadly, we know we failed to follow that one rule and were thus banned from the garden and condemned to farm soil with rocks and thorns and women to suffer terrible birth pains.
First, I am personally tired of my God first being attacked then removed more and more from our society and then being blamed for the mess WE create in his absence. Sounds a lot like most people today when trying to coach or correct them, I have found most people are not comfortable handling blame in the workplace so it is not a surprise this trend transcends to the spiritual realm.
On that note, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest once wrote we are "Spritiual beings on a human journey". In other words, when God created us in their image, we were made into a human form for our time on Earth but will receive a new body in the coming Kingdom. As a spirit, we were not meant to die so for us this is a new and painful lesson each must learn to process on their own in their own way.
In that light, we realize a significant part of life is death. That is what makes life so valuable- it is fleeting and we never know the hour at which we will be called back to God.
Next, I submit this pain we feel, when considered in terms of infinity is akin to a scraped knee when I was a child riding a bike. My parents loved me, and protected me, but to experience life and LIVE, I was going to be hurt a few times. In the big picture, this temporary pain will subside and ultimately be completely removed, not in this life but in the next. WE just need to have the faith the LORD will see us through.
Lastly, I like to think when a loved one is taken suddenly or when a child succumbs to an illness, God is simply wanting that angel back with Him. Knowing we will again be united with that loved one gives us hope, something to be thankful for and to look forward to. For that and my salvation, I am thankful all I had to do is accept the gift Jesus gave me. How about you?