How Do We Respond To Tragedy?

Ypsilanti Church HopeToday we are experiencing the horror of a school shooting in Connecticut that has resulted in the death of nearly thirty children. It is at times like this when I fall to my knees and ask God, “Why?”

Where is God in the midst of this kind of tragic violence? Why did God allow this senselessness to happen? Why? Each one of the children in the Antioch Movement could have been at that school today.


We live in a world that is broken beyond our comprehension. Human sin is rampant. Self-hatred and hatred of others is at an all time high. Hate and distrust is the air we breathe. So we ask, “Why God?”

The Scriptures are full of people experiencing pain, suffering, and evil. Psalm 88 is one of the darkest moments in human literature. If we are honest with ourselves we struggle in moments like these to believe that God is sovereign and good. But he is. We ask, “If God is omnipotent why didn’t he stop this?” I don’t know. I don’t have any answers for the kind of pain that comes from moments like this. I struggle with God over why he allows evil to accomplish these kinds of things. But, at the end of the day I am able to return to the fact that God is good and he is sovereign.

Do you know what comes after Psalm 88? Psalm 89, “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithulness to all generations. For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” It goes on to say, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”

In the moment we have no answers but what we can know with certainty is that righteousness, justice, faithfulness, and steadfast love are God’s. That is why the Psalmist can enter into a time of sadness in the second half of the Psalm and then close with, “Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”

We may never know the why from this week. We as followers of Jesus must change the question and reorient ourselves to the reality that God is just, righteous, sovereign, good, and full of steadfast love. As the days go forward some in your lives will argue against God and use these events as reason for why God cannot exist. In reality they point us to the fact that the world would be much, much worse if we didn’t have a God who is restraining most of humanity through his common grace.

Some people in your lives may ask “why”, it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” Remember though that while we can’t answer the why we can answer the what, God is in control and that even in these dark times he is just, righteous, faithful, and full of steadfast love. These are the moments that serve as reminders for us the necessity of the gospel. This man, needed the gospel. He needed to know he was forgiven. God is sovereign and God is good.

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