Summary: God speaks to us about situations we face in life, we need to let God's Word enter our minds and hearts and heal the grief, doubt and even the anger we may feel.
There are certain times in life when all of us, no matter how strong our faith may be, cry out either audibly or inside our soul, and ask, "Why, God? Why did You let this happen? Why didn't You prevent this tragedy?" For many of us, one of those times was this past Monday when we heard that Tearainy Rupp had died. This six-year-old daughter of Paul and Julie Rupp was the granddaughter of Glenn and Joyce Rupp who are members of our congregation, which also made her the niece of Bob and Nan Rupp and a cousin to Andrea and John. On July 4, Tearainy was severely injured when she fell off her horse and hit her head as she was preparing to ride in the Side Lake parade. I want to again express my deepest sympathy to the Rupp family. I can only imagine how hard the last couple of weeks have been. I don't even like to think about what it would be like for such a terrible thing to happen to someone in my family. If I may speak on behalf of this congregation, let me just say that we love you, and, even though often we have not known what to say during this time, we want to support you in any way we can, and we will continue to pray for you.
When the news of Tearainy's death came, it seemed that a dark cloud descended on our community. Though the sun was shining that afternoon, almost everyone I talked with felt a sense of grief, even if they had never met her. It just seems so tragic, so unfair, so senseless, that a little girl would be taken from her family at such a young age. Many children, most who did not know Tearainy, were deeply touched by what happened. A number of times during the week that she was in the hospital, I heard a child ask someone, "How is that little girl doing?" For so many of us, the past couple of weeks have been a time when we found ourselves asking, "Why, God? Why did You let this happen?" In recent months we have been on a journey through the Book of 1 Corinthians on Sunday mornings. This week I was planning to talk about Chapter 7 and explore what Paul says about marriage. It's important stuff, but we will do that next Sunday. I believe it is essential that we as Christians realize that through the Bible God speaks to us about situations we face in life. We need to let God's Word enter our minds and hearts and heal the grief, doubt and even the anger we may feel. To be honest, I cannot answer the question why God allowed this tragedy to occur, but I want to remind us of some important biblical truths which I think can help us get through this difficult time. Let's pause and pray that God would enable us to hear Him speak to us through His Word today.
There are some truths we need to keep in mind, even in the midst, especially in the midst, of our pain. 1) Remember that God is sovereign. He has always been and always will be sovereign. Today, this very moment, He has absolute authority over the entire universe. Nothing that has happened the past couple of weeks has changed that. God is still securely on His throne. I don't know why God allowed this tragic death to occur. I do know, however, that Ephesians 1:11 (quickview)  tells us that God works out everything, everything, in conformity with the purpose of His will. I also know that Romans 8:28 (quickview)  promises ...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Friends, these are not just religious sayings which look nice on a wall plaque. This is the truth, the teaching of God's Word. This week it is certainly not an obscure doctrine. It is reality. Now, a lot of folks, including some Christians, deny this biblical teaching. Many have adopted a view made popular by Rabbi Kushner in his book, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?. Like the Rabbi, they claim God is doing the best He can; He is just not able to prevent all the evil and tragedies which happen; it is beyond His power and ability to do so. But, friends, the God whom Kushner describes is not the God of the Bible. Jeremiah 32:17 (quickview)  "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." I love the story of a young boy who was sitting next to a seminary professor on an airplane. The professor said, "Young man, if you can tell me something that God can do, I'll give you a big shiny apple." Thoughtfully, the boy replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can't do, I'll give you a whole barrel of apples." Well, friends, God cannot lie, He cannot die, He cannot deny Himself, but apart from that, the song we used to sing in Sunday School is so right, My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing my God can't do!