Last night, our school had our annual Christmas performance. The students were told to check in with their teachers before the show started and as I was taking a mental roll call, I took a moment to watch the kids and I witnessed just how excited they were to perform. I watched proud parents snapping photographs of their child with friends and other teachers hugging newly-arrived students. In the midst of hearing a fit of giggles from students near me, I couldn’t help but think that across our country, families were mourning the loss of their loved ones and grieving for others as well.
Why did my school get to celebrate that evening and another have to endure what seems like pure Hell on Earth?
It’s tragedies like this that make people question, “Where was God?” or, “How could God let this happen?” Those are tough questions, but I believe I have some answers.
You know where God was? He was mourning the loss of each and every person affected. The only way I can answer the second question is quote the pastor of my church who repeatedly tells us, “Not everything that happens is part of God’s will.” God does not cause pain in our lives, but he does permit it so we can see His beauty and His grace. If we never struggled, how would we know what answered prayer looks like? I believe that God has a purpose beyond my own understanding. My God is the God who created the universe; He is the same God who can take an act of evil and work it in such a way that we will see prayers answered, miracles occur, and His hand at work. I know this because of the following verse:
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" -Jeremiah 29:11
If there’s one piece of advice you’ll let me give you, I’d like to encourage you to not get sucked into the media. In times of crisis we sometimes have a hard time looking away and we often look to the media for answers. If you do find yourself watching the news, looking for the latest development, be on the lookout for the heroes, and for the supporters. That’s where you’ll start to see God’s hand at work.
I’d like to hear some of your thoughts or things you’ve been mentally wrestling with yourself. Please comment below to contribute.