Ok, so this post will be a little deeper than I'm used to writing, but please don't let that scare you off or anything. The reason why I'm writing this post is in response to the tragedy that happened in Colorado this week.
Many of you probably already know this, but I'll explain anyway. In Colorado yesterday a man dressed as Bane - the villain in The Dark Knight Rises film - walked into a local theater. Everybody thought that he was just going to see the new Batman film, but instead he threw tear gas into the theater and started opening fire on the patrons who were trying to escape. The shooter was finally stopped, but not before he had killed at least twelve people (it may be more now) and wounded over thirty more. It was such a horrible massacre that many people are comparing it to the Columbine shooting that happened a few years ago (when a couple of students shot up a school, also in Colorado). The testimonies from the people who managed to escape the slaughter are absolutely heart wrenching. I remember one of a young couple with two little children (one of whom was an infant), and they described how they were desperately trying to get out of the theater. Words can't even accurately describe how horrible and tragic this was.
After an incident as horrible as this theater shooting many people become angry with God. If God's so good, then why did He let some man massacre innocent people? Where was God during the shooting? Doesn't God care about what happened? Why do bad things happen to good people?
I want to tell you that God is good, that He does care about what happened in that theater in Colorado.
In Luke 18:19, after being called by a rich man "Good Teacher," Jesus - God's Son - replies: "'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'" 3 John 1:11b also states, "Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God," implying that only God is good. And there are stories upon stories that reveal God's goodness: the grace He showed to Jonah, His sending of Jesus as our one and only Savior, and even in the testimony of salvation that every Christian has, among many others.
So if God is so good, then why in the world did He let a man walk into a theater and shoot the place up? Wouldn't someone who is good stop such an atrocity from happening?
It's a hard question to answer, though it is understandable why people would ask that. What it boils down to is this: sin.
God created the world in six days (resting on the seventh), and He created it perfect. There were no gunmen, or diseases, or even death. Everything was just perfect. In fact, God called His creation good multiple times (Genesis chapters 1 and 2).
And then sin entered the world when the first couple (Adam and Eve) disobeyed God's one rule and rebelled against Him (Genesis 3). Instantly the world fell into decay. Sin - which is willful rebelling against God and His rules - brought horrible consequences with it: disease, death, hate, deformities, and even men who slaughter innocent movie goers just because they can.
God would have been fully justified in wiping out the earth right then and there. I mean, really, His creation had just broken His rules. If something you created went haywire, you'd probably destroy it and try to remake it again.
But God didn't do that. Instead He allowed sin to stay in the world. But He did much more than that. He sent His only Son - Jesus Christ - to earth as a human (and He was fully God at the same time) to live a perfect life and then die for our sins on a cross. Jesus was buried and then rose from the grave on the third day, defeating death once and for all before going back to heaven and promising to return at the end of the world.
So what does this have to do with the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Bad things happen to good people because we live in a fallen, sinful world. Every last one of us is a rebel and, honestly, there isn't any good in any of us. We are all so very far away from God until we believe in Him and accept Jesus Christ as our one, true Savior.
God allows bad things to happen so that His power and His love can shine through. We don't always see that immediately. What we see are how many people were shot. What we hear are the testimonies of people who barely escaped the theater with their lives, or who had a friend die, or who are in critical condition from the shooting.
But God is more powerful than what we can see and hear. We're all finite creatures. We think in the here and now. But God is infinite. He allows bad things to happen because He knows that good will come out of it.
What kind of good could possibly come out of such a tragedy? I don't know specifically. But if people turn to God because of this event, that will be good. If Christians will stand up to help the victims of this shooting, that will be good. If Holmes, the man who was responsible for the shooting, confesses and is truly sorry for what he has done, that will be good.
Again, I don't know what will happen. I don't know why God let this happen. But I do know that something good will come out of this tragedy, that He has a plan that I can't understand now but one day, looking back, it will all make sense.
The shooting in Colorado was horrible. I feel cold every time I think about it. But I also feel a bit comforted in knowing that God is in control and He has a purpose for this. God is good all the time, even when we feel helpless, anguished, and angry. He is God, and I will trust Him until the end.
I ask that you would all please pray not only for the theater victims and their families and friends, but please also pray for the shooter as well. Forgiveness is hard, but even though Holmes did an atrocious act he was still created by God, and God still loves him. Please pray that Holmes would realize that what he did was wrong and that God would change his life.
"'Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them'" - Matthew 18:19-20.
God hears our prayers. Please set aside time everyday to pray for these people, and for Holmes as well. One prayer makes all the difference.
Well, thank you for reading through this post. That was a lot deeper than I usually write, but I really felt as though I needed to write this. If you have any questions about God's grace, goodness, or anything, please feel free to comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try my best to answer your questions.
Before I finish up, I just want to say that this is an opportunity for Christians around the world to stand up and pray for healing and encouragement for the people in Colorado. Please pray for them, and if there is some way you can help (maybe by sending cards or letters), please do it. They need to know that God loves them, that He's watching out for them, and that He wants them to turn to Him. Please consider how you can help and, if you would, repost this call to action on your blogs. Thank you.
- Edessa, signing off