These posts are always a lot of fun to write because they address one of the most common questions non-believers have: “If God exists, why do bad things happen?”
Bad things… very bad things, mildly bad things, genocide-level bad things, bad things that shake a nation.
Of course I’m referring to the Charleston shooting.
Why did God let a man enter a church and kill eight people, some of them grandmothers, if he’s so real? It doesn’t get any more religious than sitting in a place of worship and praying to your god than what happened that night. There is literally nowhere else those people could have been that would have made them closer to God. And he didn’t save them.
Why? Why didn’t he stop it? The Bible is full of examples of God’s earth-shaking power–literally earth quaking–and he couldn’t stop the shooter than night?
Oh… so you mean to tell me he just DIDN’T stop the shooter. He could have because he’s God, but it didn’t suit his purposes so he didn’t so much as send a cherubim to blow dust in the shooter’s eyes, giving all those people time to flee.
This is one of the many, many times it’s hard to be a Christian, or any kind of spiritual believer, for that matter. Not only are we stuck trying to make sense of it, we’re stuck defending ourselves to the non-believers in our lives. No one was rejoicing over the news that eight people were savagely murdered by a man who said he almost didn’t go through with it because they were so nice to him, but I know plenty of non-believers who are asking the same question:
“Where the hell was your God on that one?”
The answer is I don’t know. Was he busy? Is he not really as powerful as I think he is? Is evil stronger than God?
NO. Of course not.
So here’s what I do know: God’s will is perfect. Ours is not. If the events of this evil place suit his purposes, then it shall be done, no matter what we think of it. We can’t see the eternal, but he can. So this is when I have to sift through the hurt to find any shred of good.
Good: the people of Charleston have come together like never before.
Good: whites and blacks have joined hands at that church to honor the ones who were killed and to say, “It has to stop.”
Good: a decrepit rag that symbolizes fear and hate in so many people’s hearts has finally come down from the government offices.
Good: Eight people who loved the Lord with all their hearts, and who looked the shooter in the face and let him do his worst because their Bible says to turn the other cheek, are sitting in the bosom of the Lord right now. It hurts to lose them, but they have attained the very thing they have prayed for their entire lives: salvation.
It’s so hard to remember these things when evil shows its face, and it’s even harder to force yourself to so callously say, “Those victims are the lucky ones, they’re with God now.” But that’s what we must do when evil tries to get the best of God. Remember that he has a plan, and it is good.