There are many people in Indiana and beyond who are in shock and disbelief at what transpired Saturday night. If you somehow did not hear…a wind gust just before the Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair caused the stage to collapse, falling on a number of those attending the concert killing 5 and injuring 45. People are still trying to wrap their minds around this tragedy.
For many of us, we know someone who was there and are relieved that they were not hurt. For others…it is a different story. It is a story of grief and sorrow. It is a story of loss and pain. It is a story of struggle and disbelief. For 45 people and their families there is a journey of healing ahead. For the families of 5…there is a painful journey of grief and mourning in front of them.
It is in the midst of a trial like this that we begin to ask the often pondered…but never fully answered question, “why?”. The question takes many forms…but each form is getting to the same point. That point?
Why did God allow this to happen?
This is the question that can be answered for hours…but for those in the midst of tragedy…no answer will suffice because the pain is so real and so fresh.
The reality is that we live in a fallen world. A world that is far from the reality that God intended in creation. A fallen world involves natural disasters, tragedy, and horrible accidents. These things were never a part of what God wanted for His creation…but rather a result of the fallenness of His creation from what He desired for us.
Any time I hear about a tragedy like this, I remember the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. I remember that within this story Jesus weeps. Now, Jesus knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead so I highly doubt that He was weeping over the fact that Lazarus had passed away. Rather, Jesus was weeping over the fact that Mary and Martha were in such pain.
You see, God does not want us to have to struggle with grief and sorrow. That was not a part of the plan either. However, it is a part of our present reality now. But…it does not have to be a part of your eternal future.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:1-5
Through a relationship with Christ…grief, sorrow, pain, struggle, and tragedy will all be wiped away. They will be no more and we will live in an eternal existence the way God intended us to live. This is what we refer to as the “already, not yet” reality of Christ’s salvation. While we can receive Christ, be forgiven, and find our salvation…we still live in a fallen world. There will be a time when the fallenness is taken away…but that time is not yet. As for now, in the face of tragedy and pain we find our hope in Christ that He will restore all things and make all things new.
Today though…we pray. We pray that God showers his people who continue to carry the burden of this tragedy with His comfort, love, and mercy.
Lord God…while we can mentally understand why things like this happen…in our hearts it is hard to swallow. Grant us understanding and wisdom. Grant those who were intimately affected on Saturday night your mercy and grace. Comfort the afflicted and heal the wounded. Be present like never before in the lives of those who ask the question today…”why?” Amen.