I woke up this morning to an alert on my iphone from CNN. "14 dead and 50 injured in Colorado shooting". I, like millions of others around the world, was shocked. As I logged on to Facebook, as is my morning ritual, my news feed was lit up with posts about this violent attack. I received a message from a friend of mine asking my perspective about why God would allow this tragedy to happen. I found myself praying, thinking, and struggling to find an answer.
These thoughts occur every time a tragedy happens. I think what that makes clear is that none of us really know. None of us are really comfortable with answers. We all know, deep inside our Spirits, that this is not the way the world is meant to be. I turned on the news and watched witness after witness so hurt and confused. No doubt, you have seen the graphic YouTube video of people running from the theatre covered in blood. This grieves us all. We feel helpless. Those of us who are Christians and even those who are not fix our tear ridden eyes up to heaven and ask, "Where are you?"
As a Calvinist, I am supposed to respond that "God was in this tragedy- he willed it so." But to me, that answer doesn't do. I believe God is Sovereign and ultimately in control, but the events that happend in Colorado were not the will of God. (this is also a comment on George Zimmermans ridiculous comment that it was "God's will" that he shoot Trayvon Martin.) Many will say harmful things in response to this tragedy, things like "This is God's judgement on America." That, my friends, is not the God revealed in Jesus Christ. He does not cause senseless injustices to take place. And this is senseless injustice. This cannot be attributed to the God of light, righteousness, and love. No. This is the work of satan. This is a work of depravity. This is the work that Jesus came to destroy. The Scriptures are clear, God weeps. (John 11:35) And I believe that God, this morning, weeps at the injustices committed to the victims of the Colorado Theatre shooting. God doesn't weep as one who is powerless. He weeps at the depravity of his creation. And yet, in times like these, I also believe that we can find hope. Hope for the day when God will restore creation to its sinless state. When God brings justice to all of the injustices that happen daily in this world. When God throws hell itself into destruction. There is a day when God will bring the ultimate victory through Jesus Christ. And that is the hope we can cling to in these times. Out of this death, there is resurrection. Out of these evils, there is grace. Out of this darkness, a light is shining. Even though we cannot see that now. Now is a time for mourning. Now is a time for weeping. Now is a time for seeking. But we must cling to the hope that God's justice will roll like a river. His kingdom is coming from these ashes.
In this time of pain and despair, a resource by author Randy Alcorn has proved to be of tremendous help. Waterbrook Press has released chapter 4 of his book If God Is Good on responses to evil and tragedy. You can download a free copy of that PDF here.
For now, my prayers go out to the families and friends of those who have been killed in this senseless injustice. I also pray for all of those who will bear psychological scars from this tragedy. I pray for James Holmes, the man behind this wickedness. I pray for our Colorado, our country, and our world. And I find myself praying with tears in my eyes, "Lord, have mercy. Bring your kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Come quickly, Lord Jesus..."
This is a post that echos mine but with much more beauty than I could ever write. This woman was in Theatre 9 when the shooting occurred. And she still trusts in the mercy and goodness of God.