Today as the details filter in, the name of the shooter is finally released, the names of many of those killed are also released and details about their life are remembered, it will be a day of mourning and sadness. As it should be. Questions will be asked today by many parents, friends, and observers as to why it happened, what could have been done, and deep in our hearts another question will raise it’s head yet again: Why God? If You’re really there, why?
Because as much as we’d like the police to have acted more quickly, as much as we wish the University administration had locked down the campus earlier, there’s also the matter of why God didn’t stop such a thing from happening.
And ironically, a tragedy like this will drive people toward God, and drive others away, all at the same time.
Was God judging those kids? Does God exist at all? How many of them were saved? Why would God create someone He knew would someday walk into Virginia Tech and kill those innocent kids?
Let’s be honest, regardless of what I say or any other religious person says, it doesn’t take away the pain or really do justice to the question of WHY? at this moment. Right now, it’s just plain tough to deal with for many people. So I don’t want to write some condescending, know-it-all, easy-for-me-to-say, kinda religious answer. Here’s my honest take, right off the top of my head.
I don’t know why God allowed it.
I know that the Bible says the world has all sorts of tragedies and death in it because we’re all suffering under the curse brought about by sin way back in the beginning,
I know that in the midst of this messed up world, the Bible says God still gives us a choice to believe in Him and hope for something better.
And I know the Bible says God Himself came down out of heaven in the form of Jesus Christ, suffered and died right along with us. A God who knows what I go through, and what those who suffer greatly go through. The book of Hebrews spends a lot of words making this point.
And I know that the Bible promises a time when all this pain, sorrow, and death will be over. A time when God will put a stop to all the tragedies and tears forever and ever.
But mostly I know that God says these horrible things are temporary and He has called each one of us to stand up for something better. He’s called us to believe in Jesus and work to make everyone’s life a better one, to make the world a better place, to sacrifice and serve others instead of mistreating others and caring only about ourselves.
A lot of people who claim to be Christian haven’t lived up to this calling, but the calling still remains. And the promise of eternal life and a new order of things is our hope. I can’t prove it, but I have enough hope to stake my lifetime on it. God says what you do here matters. Obviously the shooter didn’t think anything he did matters, but I think this is where he was wrong. There is a new tomorrow, there is a better way, there are things worth living for, fighting for, and standing up for. There is a good. That’s what I believe. My hope is the promises of God are absolutely real.
If they aren’t, this world is a dark, meaningless place to live. I refuse to believe there’s not something better. I believe what the Bible says about God, His Son Jesus, His love for us, and the promise of a new life. I choose to believe in the good. I choose because the alternative is hopeless. If I’m wrong, I haven’t lost anything. If I’m right, not only have I gained everything, but what I do here on this planet really DOES mean something.
I like that idea.
And there’s one more thing. God is eternal and everyone spends a lot more time on God’s side of eternity than they do living in this world. If you were in God’s shoes, (I have no idea what size we’re talking, but I imagine pretty big…) If you were looking at things from His perspective, these kids have missed out on what? 50-80 years? Compared to a million years? Compared to eternity? And if the world to come is better? Then those who have put their faith and hope in a God who sent His Son to die for our sins, well they’re probably not upset at the moment. If we could see and experience just how great it feels, we might even be jealous. I’m pretty sure we would. Paul the apostle wrote:
“For me to live is Christ (that is, he could serve Jesus as long as he was here on the earth), but to die is gain. (As he would say, to go be with Jesus is “better by far“) Philippians 1:21-23
Hey, we still have to live in this mess. For those who put their hope in God and pass on, they already enjoy the promise of no more dying, death, pain, sorrow or tears.
Those tears, the pain, and the sorrow are left for us. For now.