Why do bad things happen to people? That’s a question we’ve all asked, we’ve all wondered. That’s one of the questions that keeps many people from believing in God or causes some folks to turn away – why did this happen? Why did God cause this to happen?
We all (or at least most of us) wonder about tragedy and sadness. We’ve all been there at some point, or we will all be there at some point. It seems to be a part of the human experience.
I talked Sunday in worship at St. Matthew’s that one thing I love the most about faith is that we believe that we serve a God that is not untouched by our human pain an loss, but through Jesus, God has experienced our pain, His heart is broken as our heart is broken. But we still wonder. Why? Jesus tells deals with today in our reading. Listen to what it says in Luke 13: 1-5:
13 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
We see Jesus and disciples talking about a tragedy. The Galileans mentioned in the text were in the Temple preparing to make their sacrifice, when they were slaughtered by the Roman soldiers, underserved. And the people thought, well, what did they do to deserve that?
Isn’t that a common question, when something bad happens? What did I do to deserve this? What did they do to deserve that? We think that way, don’t we? What action did I take to cause this to happen to me? This tragedy, it is my fault, what did I do? Why is God punishing me?
Look what Jesus said – nothing. They’ve done nothing to cause this happen. This is a tragedy. But it isn’t their “fault.” They didn’t cause this happen, just like the ones that were killed by the tower that fell didn’t cause that to happen. They weren’t more evil. God wasn’t out to get them.
The truth is we live in a broken world with hurt and pain. We live in a world of tragedy. Of sickness and pain and loss and manner of hurt.
Let me tell you something that I believe in the core of my being. The power of God is not that He stops bad things from happening. The power of God is that He can bring good out of any situation. This is part of what Jesus is saying today. God didn’t “casue” this to happen. Their sin didn’t “cause” this happen. Pilate was evil. The tower was poorly built. God didn’t cause it. But God will, in His mercy and in His time, bring something good out of it.
So is it in your life. God is not out to get you. God does not cause the tragedy in your life or in the world. We live in a world of brokenness and people have free will to choose wrong. Bad things will just happen. And we greive those that bad things. They are awful and terrible and grieve together.
But, I promise you this, I promise you. God can bring something good out of even the worst tragedy. He can bring redemption and hope and grace. He can. He will. The power of God is not that He stops bad things from happening. The power of God is that He brings good out of any situation.