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Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? Lee Strobel reflects on the shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado

Think Christianly: Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? Lee Strobel reflects on the shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? Lee Strobel reflects on the shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado

The following is adapted from a sermon preached by author and apologist Lee Strobel on Sunday, July 22, at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
"It's already being called the worst mass shooting in American history: 70 people shot by a gunman, 12 of them killed, while they were watching the midnight showing of a new movie. It all happened just 21 miles from where we're sitting. There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have, and will, go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, "Why? Why did God allow this?"
This has been a heart-rending summer for Colorado. First came the wildfires, which ravaged the houses of hundreds of our neighbors, prompting many of them to ask the same question, "Why?"
And those two tragic events are just added to the everyday pain and suffering being experienced in individual lives. There's illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. And perhaps you've been asking the question too. "Why? Why me? Why now?"
That "why" question is not a new one; it goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn't start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why do all of these horrific things happen if there's a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people?
Several years ago, I commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they'd ask if they could only ask God one thing. The number one response was: "Why is there suffering in the world?"
Maybe you've never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, but my guess is you will when they strike you or a loved one with full force. And Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as mere illusions, Jesus was honest about the inevitability of suffering. In John 16:33 he said, "You will have suffering in this world." He didn't say you might—he said itis going to happen.
But why? If you ask me, "Why did God allow the gunman to spray the Aurora movie theater with gunfire just two days ago?" the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words: "I do not know."
I don't have God's mind; I don't share his perspective. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we're told, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity."
Someday we'll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can't understand everything from our finite perspective. And frankly, the people suffering from the Aurora tragedy don't need a big theological treatise right now; any intellectual response is going to seem trite and inadequate. What they desperately need now is the very real and comforting presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. And I'm so grateful that so many churches and ministries of this community..."

Read the rest here.

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Blogger TheGodDare said...

God has shown us throughout His Word the answer to why bad things happen. In sum, it's sin and free will. Because we live in a sinful world, everything and everyone has been tainted by sin. Though we are shocked and heartbroken over evil acts as well as natural disasters, we should not be surprised. God has given humans free will. Free will to love Him or hate Him, accept Him or reject Him, obey Him or disobey Him, follow Jesus or follow ourselves, do good or do evil, make right choices or wrong choices. People are not mindless puppets on strings controlled by God. Free will for humans began in the Garden. The Bible also documents how angels have free will, which is how we got Satan & his demons. We seem to forget that the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion. Just as God can influence people for good, the devil can influence people for bad. But in the end people make the final decision. And there are good or bad consequences as a result of our decisions. Dr. Frank Turek, a leading Christian apologist, posted an excellent short animated video on his website titled "If God, Why Evil" at It's worthy of a view, as it effectively address this matter.

July 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM  

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