When Bad Things Happen

Read: Luke 13

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Luke 13:1-5, NLT)

One of the sad realities of living in a world broken by sin is tragedy.  We witness it all the time, and sometimes we are personally touched by it.  An infant dies in her sleep, a teenager is killed when his car crashes; a mother loses her battle with cancer…a quarter of a million people are wiped out by an earthquake in a poverty-stricken nation.

Out of these tragic events, like clockwork, we hear some shocked and grief-stricken person ask, “How could a good God allow such evil?” Of course, they are searching for some sort of answer that will make sense out of the insensible.  They are trying to find some explanation other than the simple reality of living in a broken world where bad things happen to people—good people as well as bad people.  And when no sensible answer is forthcoming, God gets the blame.

This is the equivalent to what Jesus was asked.  A group of innocent Galileans had been killed while they were worshiping.  Eighteen people left home one morning like every other day, but on this day a tower collapsed, killing them all.  How could a good God?  How do we make sense of this tragedy?

Did you notice Jesus’ answer?  He didn’t really give them the answer they wanted.  In a way, he brushed aside their question and went to the heart of the matter: Sin.  Sin kills.  It brings death.  And as long as there is life on Planet Earth, not only will there be inexplicable tragedies, but every person will die sooner or later.  So far, the death rate for human beings is hovering around 100%.

So what is the explanation?  There is really no explanation that will satisfy the “how could a good God?” question.  But there is an answer—Jesus said, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” The answer to the tragedies that occur in this broken world and the antidote to the tragedy of human sin that brings death to every human being is eternal life.  Repentance trumps death, salvation neutralizes sin, and the cross has defeated the grave. That’s how a good God has dealt with the tragedy of life in a world broken by sin.

“We want to reach the kingdom of God, but we don’t want to travel by way of death. And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’ Do not hesitate, man, to go this way, when this is the way that God came to you.” ~Augustine

What If God Took Over?

Take a moment to thank your Heavenly Father for the precious gift of salvation—and eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.  It is that one very special and undeserved gift that will trump every evil that will come against you in this life.

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