Why did God allow this tragedy?
We can't blame evil on God...

Millions of people asked why did God allow this? after the tragic April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech University, in the United States.

People who don't believe in God use such incidents to condemn him. They argue that if God is good, he would have intervened to stop that violence.


Yet these same people don't want God to intervene in their lives to prevent them from sinning, even if their actions will send them to hell.

As Christians, we find ourselves fumbling for answers, as if God needs us to defend him. We can't provide reasons because we don't understand ourselves.

People have been asking why did God allow this? for thousands of years. We want our world to make sense. We want God to be fair.

But three truths are always present when innocent people lose their lives:

1. Man has free will

One of the greatest gifts God gave mankind is free will. We are not a race of robots. We can think for ourselves. And, we can make our own choices.

Without question, many people make bad choices. Criminals make choices that harm or even kill others.

God warns us in his Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not kill. Every person familiar with God's commands chooses whether to obey them. Some acts, such as murder, have graver consequences than others, but all disobedience results in pain and suffering.

The same people who want God to prevent murder do not want him to step in to prevent them from lying, cheating, stealing. coveting or engaging in idolotry. They can't have it both ways. Sin is sin.

Free will makes murderers responsible for their actions, not God. We can argue whether a particular murderer was insane, but only God knows the truth and judgment is God's, not ours.

Christ invites everyone to turn from sin and accept him as their savior. But he never forces anyone to follow him.

2. Heaven is better than earth

When an innocent person dies prematurely, we believe that man, woman or child was cheated out of their chance at an enjoyable, productive life. And that's true.

As we ask why did God allow this?, we grieve for the years we will never be able to enjoy that person's presence.

But even as Christians, we forget that heaven is infinitely better than earth. Jesus called it "paradise."

Life on earth is not as good as it gets. It's necessary to mourn the loss and absence of someone we love, but if they're a believer, they're much better off than we are. They have achieved the reward that is still years away for us.

Our entire faith is based on joining Christ in heaven for an eternal, joy-filled life. We can't abandon that truth when someone we love dies.

3. God is always good.

When nonbelievers ask why did God allow this?, they accuse God of impotency or indifference when tragedy strikes. They argue that if he is sovereign, as Christians say, he would stop suffering before it happens. If he is almighty and does not intervene, they accuse him of indifference.

No human being--including me--is wise enough to understand all of God's ways. But two things seem clear. A God who is capable of creating this magnificent universe is all-powerful. Nothing is beyond his capabilites.

Second, God's greatest intervention in human history was the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and from eternal separation from him.

Asking why did God allow this? and trying to comprehend his reasoning is fruitless. There are many mysteries we will never be able to understand this side of heaven. But who could worship a God who is capable of being understood? We are only creations; He is the Creator.

We can't answer the question why did God allow this?, but we can be sure that God is good. That is a pillar of our faith, lost on those who refuse to believe.

Faith is based on trust. We trust in God even when we can't understand. The Bible tells us that God is trustworthy.

After a disaster, we can use our free will to return to God or turn away from him. The absence of God is a miserable, meaningless life.

Clinging to God, following him, obeying him, trusting him no matter what happens, is the way to heaven, eternal life, understanding, reunion with loved ones, and an existence where the word "tragedy" will never again be spoken.

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