Saturday, February 17, 2018

Five Minute Friday: WHY

Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word: WHY.

Another school shooting in the US (this week in Parkland, Florida) has left the world wondering why.
  • Why did the shooter unleash violence on his fellow students and teachers in such a horrific way?
  • Why was a person about whom there had been many ominous warnings still allowed to purchase an AR-15 rifle?
  • Why has the endless series of shootings (in schools, theatres, concerts, churches) not led to legislative change?
  • Why do terrible things happen?
  • Why does God let them happen?
It doesn't take us long to move from questions about the actual circumstances to bigger questions about God's role in tragedy. 

One of my online friends said on Twitter yesterday that when he tried to put the Florida shooting in the context of God's total sovereignty (i.e. Calvin's insistence that all events are orchestrated by God), he started crying because it was such a depressing prospect. 

I understood what he meant. The idea that God caused this event for some inscrutable reason "that we'll never know on this side of eternity" can actually feel more horrifying than the belief that there's no God and everything is random and meaningless. If our hearts are broken by the tragedy of this event, how can we possibly believe that God's is not -- that instead, He is satisfied that things turned out just the way He intended?

I think as people of faith, the biggest Why questions always bring us face-to-face with paradox:
  • God is good ... Terrible things happen.
  • God is compassionate ... People suffer.
  • God is with us ... Things feel random. 
  • Jesus has won the victory ... Evil is rampant.
  • This situation is beyond my control ... I have some responsibility.
Without acknowledging these difficult tensions, either we'll remain in apathy or despair or we'll self-medicate with simplistic cliches and excuses ... and we'll never let Why take us to a deeper, more creative, and ultimately more hopeful place.



  1. So much to think about. I pray that this is where the healing begins.
    Deep post Jeannie. Thank you.
    Visiting from 58 this week.

    1. Hi Kelly - thanks so much for taking time to read and comment.

  2. I like your writing. Your summary was so meaningful.

    1. Thanks so much, Leona. I appreciate that you read and took time to comment as well. I also stopped by your post; it is nice to meet you here at FMF this week.

  3. God was in that school..God was each of those children, teachers, etc. It's the one thing I can cling to that gives me hope! I'm in the 50 spot this week.

    1. I absolutely believe that too, Tara; I read your post and I love that you highlighted that. Thanks for coming by.

  4. I like to ask 'how' instead. How can I help? How can I show more love.

    1. I loved that about your post, Anita. It is a question that moves us forward, whereas "why" (as legitimate as it may be) can sometimes keep us stuck, if we aren't careful.


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