Finding Jesus in Tragedy
We experienced two tragedies this week. On Thursday I saw an alert on Facebook that a church in Adell was on fire. The name didn’t sound familiar, but given the size of the community, I only knew of one church: Adell Community Church, pastored by a friend, Mike Wiley. A few minutes later, I received an email from the Weatherford Ministerial Alliance’s president asking for us to pray for Mike and the church. I called him later and he said that their new sanctuary had all but burned to the ground.
The next day was Friday and we heard the news of the second deadliest mass murder in American history: twenty 5- and 6-year olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT had been killed by a sick man. It was an evil act. Of course, Facebook and Twitter were ablaze from both sides of the gun control debate. So many pundits were politicizing the tragedy even before the bodies were removed from the school. One of the wisest things I saw was a Tweet from Glenn Beck:
Our society is broken. Our communities are suffering and it is because of the ever expanding lack of self-control & personal responsibility. It’s not the gun. It is the soul.
A high school friend commented, “I don’t know if God exists. But if he does, I’m not keen on worshipping someone who lets twenty young children die.” In a later comment, she said, “If we have an omnipotent being regarding us all, he’s either doing a [horrible] job or doesn’t love us as advertised.” Her comments typify the response most of us have as we try to wrap our brains around the problem of evil.
As I studied and prayed through Friday and Saturday, I came across an excellent post from Russell Moore, Dean of Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. I highly recommend reading his response.
This morning, I responded to these tragedies from the pulpit. My sermon’s thesis statement was that we will find Jesus in tragedy when we confidently trust in God’s absolute sovereignty.
I remember a discussion in our Christian Ethics class in seminary. The professor said that when wrestling with these issues, we are tempted to deny one of three things:
- God is all-loving
- God is all-good
- God is all-powerful
But to take a Biblical approach, we must affirm all three points. We don’t have to understand why God does all that He does. He doesn’t owe us any explanations and He doesn’t have to get our permission. Our task is to trust that He is all-loving, He is all-good, and he is all-powerful. He’ll take care of the rest.
If God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped. —Evelyn Underhill
What do you think about this tragedy? How we should approach this subject from a Christian perspective?
I am interested in hearing your comments below.