“Where was God when that happened?”
In the face of such terrible tragedies, like the one recently in Sutherland Springs Texas, this is the question that surges to the forefront of our minds.
It is a question that should not be ignored. It is a question that matters more than we realize – a question we should ask… and answer. It is a question that reveals so much of the human condition – and of the nature of the God Who created all things.
For the next few days, I just want to explore this issue – and provide a reasonable and Biblical answer to the question of…
One possible answer to the question is that God doesn’t exist. We hear people say: “Terrible things happen just because terrible things happen – there is no god to prevent them from happening. The proof that god does not exist is the fact that god does nothing to prevent bad things from happening. If god really existed, terrible things would never happen.”
But here is the problem with that line of thinking… when bad things happen we KNOW they are bad things. So… HOW do we know that?
C. S. Lewis, a former atheist, once followed the reasoning that tragedy in the world proves that there is no God. But he ran into a problem… “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust,” Lewis reasoned. “But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
In other words, there is a standard by which we measure “good” or “bad.” And this standard transcends us. It did not come from us. It must have been imprinted upon us… from beyond us. Lewis concluded that this standard came from Our Creator.
If there is no God, and His standard of goodness imprinted within us, we can’t even begin to make sense of the concepts of evil or tragedy. Without God, the events that trouble us are reduced to mere “occurrences” that happen. Some “occurrences” we may prefer, and find acceptable, and some we won’t – but in a universe without God, it’s all reduced to “occurrences” in the end. And these “occurrences” cannot be measured or evaluated objectively without a standard of measure.
We cannot describe our “bad” experiences in this world without using words like “wicked,” “tragic,” “evil,” “immoral,” and “unjust.” In every profound tragedy, we are touched en masse by the hardship, the suffering, and the pain of terrible things.
Why we are touched, why we are saddened, why we are outraged… all tell us something. They tell us that there is something within us, from beyond us, that causes us to be touched, saddened and outraged by evil acts and tragedies. This standard of goodness gives us a “plumbline” to measure all occurrences of this world – a way to define what is “good” and “bad” and how we feel about those things. Without God, this standard would not exist – and we would not even care…
We cannot answer the question “Where was God when…” by eliminating Him from the question. The only reasonable conclusion for the existence of such a moral standard of goodness, within all of us, is that there IS Someone (of infinite goodness) Who placed it there.
Prayer Focus: God, open my eyes to see as You see… my mind to think as You think… and my heart to act as You act.