How Tragedy Brings Glory to God
Yesterday marked the 1-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Having grown up thirty minutes from Blacksburg, VA it hit close to home for me last year. One of my friends, Matthew Church, was supposed to be in the class where Cho opened fire, but he slept through his alarm and missed class.
Continue to pray for the families that experienced loss in ways beyond what I could ever fathom or imagine.
Though I would never pretend to have all the answers to life’s tragedies, I’m thankful that there is a God who understands. He understands how it feels to lose His only Son to tragedy, to the wicked, murderous hand of psychotic executioners, much like Cho. Still, when tragedy strikes close to home it begs the question, “How could God possibly allow something like this to happen?” So, many choose to discount the idea of a loving, all-powerful God as nothing more than a fairytale or children’s bedtime story. Where is God when disaster comes? Where is God when Katrina lands a deadly blow? Where is God when a tsunami wipes out enough people to populate several countries? Same place He’s always been.
But the critics cry foul and choose instead to deny God–a copout, simplistic approach, to be brutally honest. The Bible calls them fools. At the risk of sounding trite and simplistic myself, I like the Psalmist’s approach. In Psalm 148:7-8 the writer explains that life’s disasters actually give testimony to the greatness of God. He says,
“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths.
Fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy wind, fulfilling His word.”
How could California wild fires and Hurricane Katrinas be good things? They fulfill His word. Somehow in the providence of God, they fulfill His word. They give testimony to His greatness. They praise Him through and by disaster. I don’t know how exactly, but they do. They praise Him over all the earth. They bring attention to His greatness. They act as neon signs that read, “Look at God! Look how amazing He is!” And somehow in the midst of the flickering, fluorescent catastrophe of events, God’s power is put on display. He receives more glory and more praise than He would have otherwise.