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?
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.