I’m so sad about the tragedy that took place in Connecticut today. I can’t imagine the pain those families are experiencing. In our humanity, it’s normal for us to ask “Why?”. In our humanity, it’s normal for us to wonder how God could allow such a thing to happen. I really don’t have any answers, but I’m comforted to know that in the midst of such pain, God understands and offers Himself.
John Stott once wrote, “I could never believe in God if it weren’t for the cross.” His short story, The Long Silence, explains:
At the end of time billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God’s throne. Most shrank back but some near the front talked heatedly with belligerence.
“Can God judge us? How can he know about suffering?” snapped a pert young brunette. She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. “We endured horror…beatings…torture…death.”
In another group, an African-American young man lowered his collar. “What about this?” he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn, “Lynched for no crime but being black!”
Far out across the plain there were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering he permitted in this world. How lucky God was to live in heaven where all was sweetness and light, where there was no weeping or fear, hunger or hatred. “What did God know of all people had been forced to endure in this world? God leads a pretty sheltered life,” they said.
So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because he had suffered most. A Jew, an African-American, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed child. In the center of the plain they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case and it was rather clever.
Before God could qualify to be their judge he must endure what they endured. Their decision was that God would be sentenced to live on earth as a man.
“Let him be born a Jew. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted. Give him work to do that even his family will think he is out of his mind to try to do it. Let him be betrayed by his closest friends. Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced jury, and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let him be tortured. At last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone. Then let him die. Let him die so that there can be no doubt that he died.”
As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the throng of people assembled. And when the last had finished pronouncing the sentence, there was a long silence. No one uttered another word. No one moved. Suddenly they all knew that God had served his sentence.
At times like this, we can come to Him with our fear, our grief, our confusion and even our anger. He may not give us a list of answers, but He will give us Himself.