While it’s not part of God’s original plan for tragedy to happen, does God allow it? I think so… It’s hard to wrap our minds around that He would allow such heartache and misery in the lives of good people; such seemingly mindless atrocity. My sexual assault at 13 for instance. I was just a child and didn’t know how to voice what I was feeling or how to stop it from happening. I didn’t choose to sin – I was sinned against and traumatized because of it. Why would God allow that?
I wrestled with why He allowed that for a long time. I have seen instances where God has stepped in and protected people and miraculously healed people – so I struggled with, “why not *me* God?” Why didn’t You protect me? Why didn’t You hear my cries? Why didn’t You save me?
Then, 14 years later, because of what happened to me, I recognized similar traits in a man we’d known and trusted for 8 years. Because of what happened to me, I followed the red flags in his behavior and mannerisms that indicated he was grooming my 7yo and refused to allow something from happening to her. Because of what happened to me, I demanded he leave our home despite proof of what he was attempting to do, demanded that he no longer be allowed near her, whether it offended him or not. And because of what happened to me, despite what was accused as lunacy, we learned just a week after having him leave that he had sexually violated several of our mutual friends, either while they were intoxicated and couldn’t voice consent or crossing boundaries.
I don’t believe we will all have clear explanations of why like I did in this moment, but this moment gave me a bigger understanding of why He allowed *this* to happen – I would have rather given my life to protect my daughter from ever experiencing what I did. And because God knew ME, He allowed me to experience it so she wouldn’t. For the first time in my life, I was even thankful for the amount of time I experienced it. It wasn’t just once… it was over and over and over again…. and I learned everything I know from predators and the seriousness of child sexual abuse and the manipulation and deception perpetrators use to get the results they’re seeking because of it. I experienced first hand the confusing emotions, the mixed feelings of liking it but not at the same time, and I experienced first hand what it felt like when no one stopped it.
I don’t know why God allows some families to lose babies and children, I don’t understand why God allows some people to get cancer, or in car accidents with lifelong consequences, or why He’s allowing people to go hungry all over the world. I don’t know why He allows tragic deaths in any form….. or why He intervenes on behalf of some and not others. Then I contemplate the ripple effect… Death and tragedy is not the end of the story to God. The hearts of people being turned to Him is His passion; the souls of His children remaining intact and whole, are . Death is not His eternal plan for us, but if He can turn one’s heart to Him, why wouldn’t He turn death into something good for those who love Him?
The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that God loves, but unless we let him have us, the Lord will use all that the enemy intends for evil for the good of those who love God. If that means taking a child of God to be with Him so as to encounter their child, their brother, their friend – this is the heart’s desire of ours, of His, that none of our loved ones, none of His children would be without Jesus.
So does God cause and plan for tragedy? No. The enemy does and he does it strategically and desperately in order to destroy us and sever the connection between us and God – because the only thing he’s got is to our own doubt. He cannot separate us from the love of God, but he can convince us to separate ourselves if we let him. God doesn’t cause it, but God allows tragedy and He has good reason to. Even if we never see why. He’s faithful and always will be.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
May we remember that this isn’t the end of the story. This world as we know it will end, but it leads us into to something beautiful.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
I don’t have all the answers… this is just one piece of the story with Him. I have seen His faithfulness in my life time and time again and I can’t take credit for the good I’ve done because it all comes from a place that He gave me. It’s not about me – it’s all about Him…. but to Him, it’s all about us and being with us and destroying the enemy once and for all.