When Tragedy Strikes
On March 10, 2019 a devastating series of tornados plowed through our area in East Alabama and in one community alone, twenty-three people lost their lives. The victims were from every age group: age six to eighty-nine. It has rocked our region to its core. But by the grace of God, His love and mercy are helping people move forward ever so slowly.
When any tragedy takes place, the major question that is always asked is, “if God is real, why didn’t He stop this from happening?” Then many well-meaning people will begin to give very unscriptural answers by saying things such as, “…God took _____because He needed another angel in heaven”. This can be absolutely devastating to a family who has lost a child, a parent or another loved one. Those kind of words are not only unscriptural, they can also destroy a weak person’s faith and drive them away from the Lord.
While I would never say nor insinuate that I have every answer on why tragedy strikes, the Bible does give us clear and very simple instructions on where it comes from and how we can give a Biblical answer to people. Because I am a believer of Jesus Christ, I look to His Word to give me the answer to the “why”.
1.The Bible is clear that satan is the one who steals and kills and destroys.
John 10:10 MEV “The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” MEV
Mark 4:15 “…Satan comes immediately and takes away the word which is sown in their hearts.”
The Gospel of Luke is filled with many examples of when Jesus healed the sick, He often spoke to a “spirit” behind it. Now I realize every sickness is not the result of a demon spirit in operation in your life. Sometimes it’s the result of not eating the right food, not getting enough sleep or exercise, it can be the result of a poison in our bodies and a host of other things.
Jesus is very clear that if there is anything stolen, anyone killed, and any kind of destruction taking place, satan is behind it. God doesn’t kill, satan does.
2. The Bible is clear that we live in a fallen world.
This is not the Garden of Eden. The garden was a perfect place until Adam and Eve sinned. A place of no sickness. No disease. No cancer. No tragedy. When you look at the Genesis account it’s obvious Adam and Eve could have lived forever in that perfect place. But instead, they chose to be distracted with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. This gave satan access to earthly beings to steal, kill and destroy during our lives on the earth.
Because we live in a fallen world, we are all subject to be attacked by car accidents, sicknesses, weather, and tornados. It doesn’t mean we have committed a sin to deserve that kind of punishment, it’s just evidence that satan is still the god of this world at the present time.
It’s interesting, there were two different real-life events that took place during Jesus’ life that he mentions in Luke 13:1-4 that speak to this very issue. Some of the Jews spoke to Jesus about some Galileans who were slaughtered by Pilate and their blood was mingled with the sacrifices they had offered. There was also a tower in Siloam that collapsed and killed eighteen people. The prevailing thought among the Jews of Jesus day was, if any kind of tragedy like that happened to a child of God, they must have had some secret sin in their lives.
There were present at that time some who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all men living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-4
Never forget; we live in a fallen world. Until Jesus sets up His Kingdom rule, satan will work constantly to gain access to steal, kill and destroy even dedicated believers’ lives.
3. The Bible tells us death is an appointment everyone will keep.
Hebrews 9:27 As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.
Next Paul reminds us that believers will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and non-believers will stand before the Great White Thone Judgement:
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his recompense in the body, according to what he has done, whether it was good or bad.
Revelation 20:11-15 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
He told the Corinthian believers that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. No matter how much you exercise, not matter how many vitamins you take on a daily basis; no matter if you are a vegan, a vegetarian or a carnivore, one day death will knock at your door. God is His grace may delay the day but eventually, death will come. You WILL die. It’s an appointment very human being on earth will keep.
4. The Bibles tells us there is a life after this life, that is more important than this life!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth.”[a] For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea. 2 I, John, saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven, saying, “Look! The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. They shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death.’ Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away.”
While no one has every answer as to “why” we can be assured that after this life is over, we can stand before Him and hear Him say, “well done!”
Those two words will make all the suffering of this present life worthwhile.