Why did God allow the Boston Marathon tragedy? The murders of the Kaufman County DA’s and one’s wife? The West explosion and devastation?

Why? sat like an elephant on my heart this week. What would Adam Hamilton say? Two Sundays ago I attended a class based on his book, Why? Making Sense of God’s Will. This week’s events pushed me to reflect on his first chapter again, “Why Do the Innocent Suffer?”  searching  to reconcile faith in a powerful and loving God in a world filled with pain. I gleaned three key points.

1.  When God created us, He gave us dominion over the earth. He said, “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  (Genesis 1:27-28, NIV)

2.  With that dominion came free will, the ability to choose right or wrong. And here’s the point I never considered before … God will not take from us our freedom, nor deliver us from the consequences of our actions or the actions of others. Why? Because it is our free will — or theirs — to choose His path or turn away that makes us human.

3. And that brings us to the final point.  Because of free will, good and evil co-exist in this world. Jesus affirmed that fact in his parable of the weeds (or tares in some versions, Matthew 13:24-29.)  Why? Because we have free will and we are still evolving His kingdom here on earth.

I believe God cries with us at the pain our choices cause. Yet, God will not revoke mankind’s free will, but He promises to deliver us through it. And ” … we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)

It has already begun if you consider acts like those of the man in the cowboy hat. The one in Boston, who, broken from his son’s death in Iraq and another son’s suicide, reacted to the bombing by running toward the smoke and saving lives that otherwise may have perished from their wounds.

While I share, like many of you, the grief of this week’s horrific events, I trust that we are still His Easter people.  Out of the rubble, death, and chaos left in the wake of tragedy, our God is still in control, loves us, and will deliver us. This week’s suffering is not His final word.

I trust and believe Him. I must. My very life depends on it.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged,  for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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4 Responses to Why?

  1. Joy says:

    You are right, Gloria. I think we need to spread the word that “God is not in control.” I’m sorry, but it’s just not in the Bible. He has a kingdom, and we are part of it, but many people are not part of it. Many places are not ruled by God, but ruled by the prince of the power of the air, Satan. This should compel us to pray – with Jesus in our hearts. Pray that people’s eyes would be open, that God would send workers into the harvest. I’m not saying we can pray whatever we want, but if we seek his will, and pray for that, his kingdom is extended.

    • Gloria Ashby says:

      Certainly God is all powerful, but doesn’t seek to take away free will and control us. I like how Hamilton put it — with free will, perhaps we are in a collaborative relationship with God, writing our story.

  2. Carolyn K Knefely says:

    Well said, Dear Friend.
    Your encouraging words are timely.
    Write on!

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