We arrive this morning with heavy hearts. The events of this week are grievous and difficult to put into any kind of hopeful context. Weeks like this make me question why I want to do my job! I lack the wisdom and gravitas to speak into such tragedies. Inadequate is a good word to describe how I feel.
I cannot put this week into context, but I can marvel at some of the responses I have seen on social media. And, to be honest, this is a good week to avoid social media, which could be step one toward healing our hearts! I am confused over those who hurl mud at God and think it will stick. They ask, “Where is God?” as they read of the unfolding narrative of Uvalde. It is an interesting question, but it is not asked with any shred of integrity.
I mean, they want God to take care of tragedy, but they do not want to listen to His wisdom for life. They want to judge God, but God is not allowed to judge them. Oh no. They get to tell God what to do, but He’d better not tell them what to do. Get your hands off my life, but don’t let anything bad happen to me either. I don’t hear anyone complain that God allows the freedom to indulge in pleasure (I can overeat, boast, gossip, get drunk). We never get angry with God for allowing us to sin in our favorite ways. But we do complain about the sin in other people’s lives – if it begins to hurt us.
So, we question God’s character when we put ourselves at the center of the world. As a society, we think about God only when we want Him to stop a tragedy. But when that tragedy happens, we use that evil as an excuse to justify our own choices to live for ourselves and to ignore God. We pick and choose the arenas of God’s activity.
When we are honest about the mystery of evil, we are humbled before God. Nobody understands it, except God. Evil is ultimately unintelligible because evil is anti-reason and anti-truth. It is not up to us to penetrate the darkness of the shadows of the mystery of evil. Deuteronomy 29:29 says it clearly: The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…
My burden is lifted when I believe that God can still be trusted. God is. And God is faithful. God’s kindness trumps His willingness to allow anyone to suffer; for as John MacDuff put it in 1859, “It is only for a little while, that you will have to traverse this howling desert.”