In the past few days, our extended communities have experienced
We watched in disbelief as we learned about the victims of flash floods on a road we travel regularly. We prayed and feared as the first responders searched for missing victims. Friday, we were stunned as we learned about the murder/suicide in our own backyards.
If we think about the pain and suffering these families are experiencing, it can leave us wondering some pretty deep questions. As people of faith, these questions can hit us hard.
The sadness and unspeakable pain in the world can leave us questioning:
"Where is God?" and "Why didn't God stop these things from happening?"
These can be a difficult questions. And it can be difficult as parents to answer these questions when your kids ask. I wish I was emailing you with the answers. But the reality is I struggle with this too. I have known and loved, trusted and struggled with God for years and this week's news brings these questions up in my heart as well.
I don't have answers. However, I wanted to share what I have learned and understood about God and God's character.
Where was God this week in these unimaginable events?
God was in the car with each and every victim.
God was in the emergency vehicles that rushed to both of these scenes.
God was with the boy and his father in Yardley.
God was with every person in each situation.
God is with the families that now mourn.
I believe this because I have watch people go through painful times and they have talked about God's presence with them. I have been through painful experiences and I have felt the presence of God. It never takes the pain away, but as we experience the pain, we can experience the comfort of God.
In Deuteronomy 31:8 we read "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
I know God was present with everyone suffering this week.
No matter the situation, God is with us.
Why doesn't God step in and stop these horrible things from happening?
While there are a lot of different ways to attempt to answer this question, here's my current thought and understanding: God doesn't stop horrible things from happening because God gave humans free will.
We can choose whatever we want and God won't control us.
We can choose to believe in God, we can choose not to.
We can choose to be kind to others and we can choose to destroy others.
We can choose to take care of nature or we can destroy it.
God will never control us or others. And that means horrible things will happen in our world. There will be pain and struggles beyond our understanding.
While God won't take away the pain, God is present with us in the pain offering comfort.
There are no easy answers for the difficult questions of our faith journey. However, it's important that we continue to ask these questions. It's important to seek answers and learn what we can about the character of God.
If you would like to talk about this, please don't hesitate to reach out.
For today, let us hold these families and individuals in prayer this week. We can pray for them to feel God's comfort, to experience moments of peace and to feel surrounded by love.
Have a wonderful weekend, all.