If you are a Christian and someone were to ask you why, what would you say?
I have had some difficult conversations with non-believing friends. These become even more difficult in the aftermath of tragedy. Over the last week I’ve seen so much calamity in the lives of friends and family: family members have passed, tree limbs have fallen on cars, houses burned down. Looking at times like this my nonbelieving friends would ask, “why does a loving God allow that?”
Too often I hear preachers talk about how God wants us to be rich or simple steps you need to take to accomplish x, y, or z, and I get bothered. If you are trying to talk people in to faith by saying that they will always be happy, or wealthy, or that it’s easy, I think you have it wrong. We can get so caught up in this idea that as believers we are somehow immune to tragedy.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus plainly states to his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33) Anyone who tells you the Christian life is easy or always happy is either living in a bubble or is blissfully ignorant. There are people starving, dying, and being oppressed all over the world and even right in our backyard. There is injustice everywhere. Where is God? It is easy to look around and feel like God stepped out for minute and I don’t blame non-believers for their skepticism. But there is something that they miss.
The verse I referenced above reads, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” As Christians we can take solace because we know how the story ends. We know that Jesus conquers sin and death.
In our lifetime, we may not see all the ills of the world eradicated. But we as Christians have hope for a better tomorrow and are charged with being Christ to those around us. We are to show the love of Jesus to those around us. When communities come together to feed and clothe those in need, when we speak out for those without a voice, when we provide for the least of these, we are living out the true gospel. As Christians we are, unfortunately, not immune to tragedy, but when bad things do happen we know that we don’t have to face them alone. We have the hope of the world.