Hey God, I Have a Question Series: Why Do Tragedies Happen?

And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? Luke 13:4 NLT

Every morning, while eating breakfast, I sit before the television and hear story after story of tragedies.

Fire rips through an apartment complex. Twin tornadoes tear through a Midwestern state leaving destruction and death in their path. A young man is accused of rape and murder. Gangs have taken over a certain area of a city. Militant groups are attempting to overthrow a legitimate government. Twins are born conjoined, and the doctors give little hope. A pandemic continues to ravage most countries in the world, and no vaccine exists to stem its tide.

In Jesus’ time and before, associating tragedy with sin was typical. Pilate had killed innocent worshipers offering sacrifices. Now a tower had fallen.

Sin is the overall answer to the question about tragedies. Material things deteriorate due to the impact of sin (Romans 8:22). Bad things can happen to people who are generally good when they make sinful choices. Sin has consequences. In a lapse of judgment, I may choose to drive drunk and kill someone in an accident. While God could prevent the accident, he often allows my sinful choice to take its devastating course, even when it affects innocent people.

When certain natural forces collide, disasters occur: earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis. Innocent people always die when they strike. Although God could prevent the deaths—and the formation of the disaster itself—he chooses to let nature’s laws take their course.

Tragedies are tragic—and a reason many choose not to believe in a loving God—but out of them new life emerges. People’s better angels arise to rebuild what natural disasters have stolen. Families pull together when personal tragedies strike. Lessons are learned from the consequences of sinful choices.

When all is said and done, no one can explain the why of every tragedy. Many seem senseless. But what we can do is trust God knows what he’s doing, and trust that everything he does is carried out with the greatest love we could ever experience, and for our best.

Learn to trust God when tragedy strikes. Doing so is better than the option of thinking things are simply out of control.

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash