“Unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Making Sense of Tragedy
Dozens are left homeless in the wake of a natural disaster. Victims lose their lives when gunmen open fire on schools. Hundreds die every month in wars and terrorists attack the innocent around the world.
Could these tragedies have been prevented? Who is really at fault? Where was God, when these things happened? Why did they happen?
We’re okay when bad things happen to bad people. Maybe, somehow, they are finally getting what they deserve. Maybe God wants to teach society a lesson about immoral living.
But how our thoughts change when tragedy strikes us or when what happens seem unfair! Why did she get cancer while her friend stayed healthy? Why did his son die in the war zone while mine came back alive? Why do innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire of violence?
It’s not fair, God! Why do you let bad things happen to good people? If you are truly just and loving, how could this happen?
But why those things happened at those times to those people is God’s business, not ours. It is not our job to judge those who were affected, and God certainly isn’t calling us to judge him. Instead, he wants us to take a good, hard look at ourselves. “But unless you repent, you too will all perish,” Jesus said.
The word “repent” means “turn around.” God wants to use the tragedies of life to turn our hearts away from our sin that leads to death to our Savior who gives us life.
None of the tragedies of Jesus’ day or ours can compare to the apparent injustice that Jesus experienced. He was the sinless Son of God. But he was convicted, condemned, and crucified for crimes he never committed.
When he suffered and died on the cross, Jesus switched places with you. He took your accusations against God, your questioning God’s love, your holding onto sinful ways, and he gave you his perfect trust, love, and obedience. He faced hell to give you heaven. He endured death to give you life.
When tragedy strikes, may God’s love at the cross quiet our questions and turn our hearts to Jesus in sincere repentance and joyful praise.
God, life doesn’t always make sense. When tragedy strikes, help me to trust your love in Jesus my Savior. Amen.