How Should Christians Process Horrific Tragedies?
Every week I send an email to our church family. Often this is just an update or reminder about coming events. This week, I chose to write about the Las Vegas shooting, and how I've been processing my thoughts. Below are my words to the church:
Monday morning, we woke up to the terrible news that a man had chosen to destroy the lives of hundreds of people and families in Las Vegas. In times like these it is difficult to know what to say. We have questions about why God would allow this and why these people's lives were ended without any apparent reason.
As I pondered these questions and this tragedy, I was reminded of Jesus' words in Luke 13. Pontius Pilate, the cruel Roman leader, had ordered the deaths of many Jewish people. Their executions were carried out by Roman soldiers in the temple while they were offering sacrifices. This horrific act seemed senseless and horrific. For the Jews, it raised several of the same questions we are asking about Las Vegas.
In Luke 13, Jesus was asked about these events and in his response he also referenced a tower that had fallen and killed 18 people. Here are Jesus' words:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Consider the important points behind what Jesus is saying:
- These people didn't die because of their sin. Sometimes, in a fallen world, bad things happen.
- Let this be a reminder to you that death comes for all of us, often unexpectedly.
- Are you ready to die?
As we grieve for this great loss of lives and as we seek ways to reach out to those who are hurting, let us also take time to reflect on our own lives. Are we ready to meet our maker? How well have we invested the time and resources He has given us? What will I do today that will matter in eternity?
Also, let's not forget, that in the midst of this pain and suffering we have great hope. We can still live with joy because we know that this present evil is only for a short time compared to the eternal inheritance our Father has prepared for us. We can be grateful to Him, we can have hope in the future and we can pour love and joy into the lives of those around us.
I'll see you on Sunday, when appropriately, we'll be talking about David in the wilderness. How do you respond when you find yourself in life's wilderness? Join my at 9:30 or 11 to talk more about it!