Summary: Does God speak in tragedy? I believe the Scriptures help us see what God says in the midst of a tragedy.
What God says In Tragedy
C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
There are those who think God is silent in a time like this. I don’t think He is. There is also a temptation for those of us who follow Christ to try and defend God. God needs no defending. He is big enough to handle all of this. Here is what I believe God is saying in this tragedy.
1. “This is not how I intended life to be.”
How can there be a God of order when there is so much pain and evil in the world? There are a lot of questions we really won’t be able to fully answer. But we do know that the scriptures teach us that God created a perfect world. As a matter of fact during the creation process we read the words, “And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” When he created man he gave them the priceless gift of free choice. That free choice lead to a rebellion against God that has affected every generation since Adam and Eve. But this is not how God intended life to go. That’s why God had a plan to win back the world through the death of his Son.
What else is God saying through this tragedy?
2. “My heart is extremely grieved.”
We need to keep in mind that God is not the author of terrorism. God did not make those guys fly into those buildings. God could have very well made them not get on that plane. But he would have taken away their free will. If he took away their free will he would have had to take away ours. We need to know that God is fully aware of what is going on. And his heart is grieved.
I think of the passage in Matthew 9:35-36: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (NIV) Jesus had been preaching and teaching and healing. The scripture goes on to say that he was healing every disease and sickness. He saw all kinds of situations—the worst of the worst. And yet, his heart did not grow insensitive and cold.
God is a compassionate and loving God. His heart is grieving. He is concerned. Let’s not forget that.
I believe God is saying we need to look inward as well.
3. “What are you building your lives upon?”
I think we have seen just how vulnerable life can be. It is so short. Psalm 39:5c says, “Each man’s life is but a breath.” For many of those innocent people they had no idea that on Tuesday morning their lives would have a tragic ending. I will be honest and tell you that this gets me to think about my own mortality. We must understand that whether we die in a plane, a building, or by natural causes we are all going to die one day. So, isn’t it important that we make life count?
I’m not saying we should go around constantly thinking about our death but that we live thinking about how we can make the most of the day. Jesus teaches us an important lesson about making sure our lives have a good foundation. Luke 6:46-49 Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what everyone is like who comes to me and hears my words and obeys. 48 That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not obey is like a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation. When the floods came, the house quickly fell and was completely destroyed.”(NCV)
We see here some important truths in these verses:
a. The floods (disasters in life) will come. Tough times will happen to us.
b. The foundation is the most important part of the building process. If you don’t take the time to build on the right foundation the results will be devastating. What does Jesus compare a solid foundation to? Coming to Jesus, listening to him and obeying Him.
What is your life being built upon?
God is also reminding us of his promises:
4. “Evil will cease one day.”
I pray this will be over soon. But you know what? As soon as this is resolved another conflict will arise. And Lord willing we as a nation will be ready to defend our freedom. But because there is sin in the world we are in a constant cycle.