The ‘Why’ in Tragedy
By Hal Lindsey
An article last week told about a man whose family was suffering physically and financially from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The man described himself as a Christian believer and said he didn’t want to question God. But he couldn’t help sometimes saying, “Really, God? Why?”
The first part of the question seems out of place. It’s what a mom might say to a misbehaving child. “Really, Bobby?” That part is not so much a question as it is a way to express frustration. After all, the reality of the situation was clear. The man’s family “really” was suffering.
The real question came next. “Why?”
Maybe you’ve been asking that question during these trying times. Or maybe you know people who are asking why God would allow this terrible disease to enter our world.
When confronting a question like this, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” After all, He is God. We can’t figure out everything He does. He sees every part of every equation all the time. He knows all that has happened and all that will happen — the end from the beginning. We are finite. He is infinite. He is the Creator and we are the creatures. Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God expressed it with these words. “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
His thought processes are infinitely above our own. But in His word, He graciously grants us an understanding of many things. For instance, we know how death entered the world. Genesis 3 explains that death came as a result of sin. And sin happened because God gave human beings the capacity to choose. He did not make us as machines that would automatically love Him and each other. That would not be real love. He gave us the ability to choose. Adam and Eve chose sin, and the humans who followed have been making the same choice ever since.
Death, then, is not unusual in our world. It’s normal. An average of 150,000 people die on planet earth every day. The current pandemic makes up a small portion of that total. Death in general doesn’t usually shake anyone’s faith. The questions come when death directly affects us or those we love — and, eventually, it always does.
We know how death entered the world. The question is, did God leave us at its mercy. And the answer is, “No, He did not!”
Last week I quoted 1 Corinthians 15:55 — “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The next two verses say, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus defanged death. He took away its strength — sin.
In John 5:24, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
We live in a world where people hurt, and people die. But every Christ-follower can know the certainty of eternal life in Him. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we have “passed out of death into life.”