by Stephanie Olson, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
I had another blog already to go for today, but after the horrific, unimaginable tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I simply had to speak to this deep sadness.
When I heard about this tragedy, I literally got on my face and cried out to the Lord. Please, God, we need You! Come quickly and take us from this evil world! And He will, but until He does, we have to take comfort in that fact that God is a Sovereign, Holy God who loves us. That’s hard for some to accept in the face of such evil. We ask reasonable questions: Why would someone do such a depraved thing? Why would God allow such a heinous thing to occur? Why? Why?
We can’t really answer that question. I hope that every one reading this will really never be able to understand why someone would turn to killing innocent people, especially children. I have found myself bursting into tears and wanting to be close to my own children and wrap them in the tightest hug. I continue to pray for protection over my children and fight my own fear because of this world we live in.
So, how do we trust God when things just don’t make sense? I think it’s important to throw our hands up and cry out to Him when we don’t understand what is happening. “Why God, why does this happen?” We may not find out the reasons, but Exodus 34:6-7 speaks of God’s own description of Himself saying, “Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.”
He is a compassionate and gracious God. Those of us who are parents understand that in life we typically see a bigger picture than our children do. And God sees a much bigger picture than we do in all things. And just like our goal with our children is always to have their best interest at heart, even when it doesn’t make sense to them, our loving Heavenly Father has our best interest at heart. We may not always see the big picture, but we can trust that He loves us and wants only the best for us. And if we truly trust Him, we can rest in Him and know that, ultimately, He will take care of things, including justice for the victims.
I think we must also recognize that God doesn’t necessarilycause bad things to happen in life, but He does allow bad things to happen. We are in a fallen world; there is sin; we have an enemy who has come “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” He hates us, he hates you, and he wants to see us destroyed. But Jesus? Jesus loves us more than we can ever comprehend. He loves us with a love beyond measure and when we are hurting, He grieves with us.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” He loves us so much that He collects our tears!
But be assured that anything that God allows–not causes, but allows–to happen in our lives, will be used to fulfill our destiny in Him and be used for His glory, because God wastes absolutely nothing. We may not see it right away, or even until we are on the other side of that Glory, but we will see it. What Satan intends for harm, God will turn into good and something that can, and will, glorify Him.
We, as Christians, have a job to do right now. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”
We have to provide comfort and hope to those who have none. We have to pray that people will be drawn to Christ during such a harrowing tragedy and not run from Him. We need to be ready to provide the Truth behind the comfort and love of Jesus Christ when people need to hear that there is hope.
Because this is who Jesus is!
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
~ Isaiah 61:1-3