Summary: In tragic times, we are tempted to ask why. The question itself is not wrong-after all Jesus asked it of his Father while on the cross, but it may not be the most appropriate question or lead to the best end.
A. When tragedy strikes, we either grow bitter toward God or draw closer to him.
B. Can God prevent tragedy? Yes. Why doesn’t he always? We can’t answer that.
C. God is imminent and transcendent, but he’s not always imminent when we want him to be.
D. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, we walk by faith not by sight (11:1).
E. There is an age-old question: “Why do the godly suffer while the righteous prosper?”
F. In tragic times, we are tempted to ask why. The question itself is not wrong-after all Jesus asked it of his Father while on the cross, but it may not be the most appropriate question or lead to the best end.
G. Too much questioning can lead to guilt feelings and looking for someone-even if it’s God, to blame. Assigning blame only intensifies anger and bitterness, furthers confusion, and gives the enemy a foothold to drive us farther from God instead of closer to him.
1. Why do tragedies happen?
2. Why do treatments for diseases work on some and not others?
3. How do bodily parts that aren’t functioning properly go undiagnosed until it’s too late?
4. The why question is not the best response. Rather, we might better ask what can we learn and how can we redeem our loss?
I. Disease, Tragedy and Death Give Evidence Of A World Tainted With Sin
A. In the world’s original condition-unaffected by sin and its effects, diseases and tragedies were not present.
B. Paul alludes to this in Romans 8:21-22; All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
C. When death occurs or tragedy strikes, it can lead us in one of two directions: our faith and trust in God will grow stronger or we will blame God and get mad at him.
D. The question of why bad things happen to good people has been asked and discussed from time immortal, but the blame should not be directed at God even though many use it as an excuse not to believe in him.
E. Since God allows the freedom which makes us human, this also permits the possibility of sin-our rejection of him.
F. With sin come consequences, some of which are sickness, disease, tragedy, and death. Along with Adam and Eve’s original rebellion came sin-tainted bodies and a sin-engulfed world.
G. So when friends, family and others succumb to death from diseases and senseless tragedies, remember sin in the world is to blame, not God.
H. At the same time, we shouldn’t assume God is pleased with the world as it is even though he doesn’t always intervene and rectify things as we wish he would.
I. Could God prevent all disease and tragedy? Yes. But for reasons we may never know he doesn’t, and we simply must trust his wisdom.
J. God challenges us to serve him by faith not always in full understanding of why things happen or why he doesn’t intervene.
II. Disease, Death, and Tragedy Don’t Evidence The Absence Of God’s Love
A. We have the promise God will never leave or forsake us.
B. Disease, death, and tragedy are not evidences of God’s absence.
C. We may prefer earthly healing-and sometimes this happens, but the greater healing only comes by passing through death’s doorway.
D. Through death we experience fully what we don’t and can’t on earth.
E. God can do what doctors can’t.
F. Jesus’ resurrection-which we celebrate at Easter, gives us the assurance of a bodily resurrection.
G. We will be given new bodies-heavenly bodies that will never die or succumb to disease. In heaven, sin and all its affects will be absent.
H. In I Corinthians 15:42, Paul writes; Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die.
III. Those In Christ Have Eternal Life Now
A. Our makeup is body and spirit-the soul or spirit being the real us which lives on even though the body decays until the resurrection.
B. Jesus’ experience with the thieves on the cross gives comfort at this point.
C. One hurled insults at Jesus while the other asked for forgiveness-recognizing Jesus was God’s Son.
D. In response to his request, Jesus said to him, I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
E. And Paul concludes; Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8).
F. This doesn’t mean our loved ones would rather us be away, especially when young children and vulnerable spouses may be left behind.