After the tragic events at yesterday’s Boston Marathon, we are left asking questions that for all intents and purposes cannot be adequately answered. Certainly, once the perpetrators are brought to justice, questions about why someone would intentionally maim and kill innocent people may be answered. We may question a person’s sanity, a person’s reasoning abilities, a person’s ethics and morality, and even their political agenda and come away with some answers why monsters are allowed to run loose in the world, but as Christians, we point to God and ask, “Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”
I’m not a theologian. I know many great men and women who may be able to explain why all the evil in this world can be attributed to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. How the enemy – Satan, has free reign until Christ returns. I get it. Do I understand it all? No.
I am a wife, Mom, grandma who weeps in the comfort of her living room, crying out to God asking why an eight year old boy’s life is so horrifically cut short, and why his little sister must lose a leg and why his mother has a brain injury because someone thought it necessary to plant an explosive near them as they stood on the sidewalk cheering on his Dad running in the Boston Marathon.
As the brutality and carnage is captured in pictures, and image after disturbing image of the wounded is telecast worldwide, I pray for the fallen and weep for the families who will have their lives forever changed. Again we cheer and admire those that came immediately to their aid without any regard for their own personal safety. Heroes all.
I struggle with my prayers this morning. I don’t understand why God allows this. He could stop it, could He not? He could even have prevented it, but He didn’t. Why?
Rick Warren wrote an article in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I invite you to read the full article here: http://purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/why-does-god-allow-evil/
I quote from that article to try to bring some understanding and reason to the question that plagues us all today.
“In a world of free choices, God’s will is rarely done! Doing our own will is much more common — much easier. Don’t blame God for the tragedy of 9/11. Blame people who ignored what God says to do: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In heaven, God’s will is done perfectly. That’s why there is no sorrow, pain or evil there. But this is earth, a fallen, imperfect place. We must choose to do God’s will every day. It isn’t automatic. That is why Jesus told us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
The Bible explains the root of evil: “This is the crisis we’re in: God’s light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness … because they were not really interested in pleasing God” (John 3:19, Message). We’re far more interested in pleasing ourselves than we are in pleasing the one who made us.
Many other questions race through our minds during dark days, but the answers will not come from pollsters, pundits or politicians. We must look to God and his Word for comfort and direction, for answers to our questions. We must humble ourselves and admit that each of us often chooses to ignore what God wants us to do.
I suspect houses of worship across America have been packed this weekend, as they were the weekend after 9/11. In times of crisis we cry out to connect with our Creator. The urge is deep-seated and universal. The first words uttered by millions on Sept. 11, 2001, were, “Oh, God!”
We were made for a relationship with God, but he waits for us to choose him. He is ready to comfort, guide and direct us through our grief. But the choice is ours.”
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.