Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question that circulates throughout the minds of everyone- especially with the events that unfolded on Friday. Honestly, I can't answer that. Part of me still struggles with this. Nobody will really know the answer this side of Heaven. We live in a broken, fallen world that is so full of heartbreak. But honestly, it always has been. If you look back in the Bible through both the Old and New Testaments, there are countless stories of men, women and societies that were subject to pain and brokenness. The Christmas story itself is tainted by the tragic killing of young boys in Bethlehem by King Herod (Matthew 2). God came in the midst of this pain to bring hope to hurting people.
Where was God in all of this? This is another question that is being asked by both Christians and non-Christians alike. The problem with this question is that it is mainly referring to the backpack God. The one that we only reach for when we need Him, but that we don't really look to as we go about our everyday lives. The God that people kick to the curb, but turn to Him the minute their lives veer offcourse or blame Him the minute tragedy strikes.This is the God that so many people shrink down to fit their expectations.
This is not the God we serve.
Our God is the God that will always leverage the pain we experience for His glory and redeems us through it. That is the essence of the Gospel. He knew that His own Son would experience the most unimaginable pain, yet it was through His suffering that we were redeemed. He knows our suffering and weeps with us (John 11)-- not because He is powerless like us, but because He is a Father that hurts when His own children hurt.
There are some extemists out there with the twisted view of Friday's tragedy being the direct result of taking God out of schools. Even though we have locked God out of schools, government, television and pretty much society as a whole-- God is not spiteful and it is grossly disrespectful to the families of the victims to think this way.
The question to ask is not "where was God in all of this?" but rather, "where is God in all of this?" The answer is the same as it's always been. He is here. He is present. He has arms to carry those that are unable to walk through this and ears to hear all of your frustration and sorrow. He loves us extravagantly and nothing can ever change that.
"If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture...
None of this phases us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
Romans 8:27-39 (The Message)