Our lives can change dramatically in an instant. This past week my car was rear-ended, but the inconvenience of the property damage and even the personal injuries I experienced pale in comparison to what others experienced from the worst mass shooting in U.S. history last Sunday in Las Vegas.
Such events inevitably raise questions such as where God is at such times and why a good and all-powerful God permits so much evil. Answers from clergy who are given or who take national platforms often leave much to be desired, even or perhaps especially by other clergy, or are completely inadequate.
A prominent Texas minister invited onto a national cable news network went through a lengthy interview without mentioning either sin or Jesus Christ. Another pastor’s facebook post quoted by a national Christian publication dealt with God and His creation’s original goodness and human-introduced sin but also not specifically with what God does about that sin through the death on the cross and resurrection from the grave of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The real question is not why what we think of as “bad things” happen to what we think of as “good people” but why what God says is a good thing happens to those whom God says are bad! Only out of God’s love and mercy does the seemingly worst-possible thing happen to the only One Who is truly good (Luke 18:18-19), and that for us and for our salvation. We in turn, in a sense are God’s presence to those whom He places in our lives, as so many were in Las Vegas one week ago.
Rather than our trying to probe God’s inaccessible thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) or to worry needlessly about the perpetrator’s unknown motive, heinous crimes and other disasters should lead us to repent and believe (Luke 13:1-5) and praise God for His revelation (Romans 11:33-36). Living every day with sorrow over our sin and trust that God forgives our sin for Jesus’s sake, we are always ready for when, whether by dramatic circumstances or not, our lives might end in an instant.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.