“It must have been their time.”
“God must have needed them in heaven.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Can we all make a pact to never say any of these phrases again? They aren’t helpful and aren’t true.
The helicopter crash that killed 9 people last week is a horrific tragedy. I’m grieving and I didn’t know a single one of them. I cannot imagine the pain their loved ones are experiencing today. It is horrible and I believe God thinks so too.
We live in a world where awful things happen and God doesn’t always get His way. It’s not that He doesn’t have the power to make things go His way, but that He loves us enough to let us make our own choices. God’s original design for His children was to live without pain and suffering. But we humans wanted to be our own gods and chose not to live under His loving rule. As a result, sin and suffering entered the world.
To say that this tragedy must be a part of God’s plan does not align with what the Bible teaches about Him. Tragedy was NEVER a part of God’s plan and I believe God’s heart is broken for the loved ones grieving today.
So why didn’t He stop the helicopter from crashing? Why doesn’t He stop every shooting? Why doesn’t He eliminate cancer? Why doesn’t He calm every hurricane before it reaches land? Why, why, why?
We can easily get caught up in the “why” questions. But they will leave us frustrated and ultimately won’t bring the peace we are so desperately seeking because we simply can’t know all of the answers. In John 16 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” You see, God never said that believing in Him meant living a life with no affliction. After all, Jesus Himself experienced tremendous suffering and death on a cross. But as Christians, we know God’s story doesn’t stop here.
Jesus continues in John and says, “But take heart! For I have overcome the world!” In Jesus, death doesn’t have the final say. There will be a day when there will be no more tears, no more suffering, and no more helicopter crashes. So we don’t grieve as people who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
As Christ followers, we MUST share this good news with everyone we encounter! I cannot imagine living a life without the hope that one day God will set all things right! And I want everyone to live with this same hope!
But lets stop trying to gloss over pain and suffering with cliche statements that don’t really bring comfort to a hurting world.
Pain is a part of life. Tragedy is part of life. And God’s heart BREAKS. EVERY. TIME.
So let your heart break as well. Sit along side people in their grief. Acknowledge when life events devastate us. Be real about the fact that life is hard. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to wrap everything up in a pretty bow that reads, “It was God’s plan”.
Because THIS is God’s plan – “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain. All these things are gone forever.” –Revelation 21:3-4
My prayer today is that the loved ones of those who died on January 26th, will fall into the arms of their Heavenly Father. That they will cry out to Jesus in their anguish. And that in their grief they will experience a loving God who promises to provide comfort in the midst of unfathomable pain.
This piece originally appeared at HollyErickson.com, published with permission.