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Where Is God In The Heartache Of Tragedy?

I know that I often discuss the matter of suffering and the feeling of God’s absence during moments of darkness. However, with the recent happenings in Paris and around the world, these thoughts have swirled in my mind and writing them down is one of the best ways to process the pain.

The common question we like to ask is, “Where is God when the world goes mad?” But that’s not the question I’m asking these days…I don’t know; maybe it’s because I trust God more now than I did before. For whatever reason, I’m not asking God about His apparent absence. I’m asking a different question:

Why would God love such a mad, dark humanity enough to die to redeem our hearts? Why even bother? Why not just start all over again?

A friend and I were texting about this the other night and she said, “Well, didn’t God already do that before?” If I’m not mistaken, I believe she was referring to the flood in the Old Testament. And yet, what we actually find in that story is that God spares humanity from total annihilation. That, my friends, is called grace.

Yet, the other question still lingers: “Where is God when tragedy takes place in our world?” Well, it’s hard to fully comprehend as a mere human, so I can’t fully answer that question, nor will I pretend to have the answers. Why God doesn’t always step in and prevent tragedy is a mystery, but I believe He is still good. Humanity? I don’t believe we are good inherently. I believe humanity is sick with sin and rebellion, in need of redemption. Feel free to disagree, but I’m pretty sure your heart says otherwise when you’re alone in the dark.

After the tragedy in Paris, I put up a verse on social media that drew many “likes”. That verse was from the book of John:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

That’s encouraging. We are drawn to such words of hope, and rightfully so. Light wins in the end. We can rally around that, can’t we? And yet, the verses that follow in John chapter three are a little more difficult to digest.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:19 

In the book of Jeremiah, we see another description of the state of humanity:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

It’s hard to accept, but our broken human hearts are born into wickedness, evil, and darkness. And yet, light wins in the end…God is still sovereign and good.

The love of the Father is not forced upon us against our will. God gives us an invitation to have a new heart, a new mind through Jesus. Relying on our pride and self-sufficiency will only bring heartache and pain.

Where is God in our tragedy? I can’t answer that. Does God care? I believe He does; I believe if He cares enough to die for us, yeah, He cares.

The tragedy in Paris and around the world is not God’s doing; the wicked, dark, evil heart of humanity is solely responsible for these mad, insane acts of inhumanity. We must stop blaming God and start looking at the root of the problem: the human heart.

I know this is hard to accept, hard to digest. But if I am going to write to share my faith, my doubts, my fears, and my dreams, I cannot pick and choose what I believe according to my own filter. God is God, I am not.

As we struggle with the problem of pain in this life, let us fix our eyes and our hearts on the redemption that we are invited to experience in the arms of Jesus.