Where is God in that? When we arrive at something that produces so much anguish, we must blame something. Is this just the way things are? How could you even begin to say this happens for a reason? This, this is horrifying wickedness. It makes no sense and falls outside of what we call right and what we call wrong.. This is something entirely bigger than that and it makes absolutely no sense. I ask again, WHERE is God in that?
The philosopher Alvin Plantinga addressed it like this:
Could there really be any such thing as horrifying wickedness [if there were no God and we just evolved?] I don’t see how. There can be such a thing only if there is a way that rational creatures are supposed to live, obligated to live…. A [secular] way of looking at the world has no place for genuine moral obligation of any sort… And thus no way to say there is such a thing as genuine and appalling wickedness. Accordingly, if you think there really is such a thing as horrifying wickedness (…and not just an illusion of some sort), then you have a powerful … argument [for the reality of God].
So God wants this? I think that is putting it a little to simple. God wants our surrender- our all. God wants us to rally behind one another, to support one another, to love one another; Sound familiar? Perhaps He must get us to that point in ways we can’t fathom as moral.
Recently, there was the largest mass shooting in US history that happened in Orlando. I think all of us would chalk this one up as a clear case of horrifying wickedness. …if you spend anytime on Facebook after an event like this, what is the first thing you see? #prayersfor_________
Where is God in this? What is praying going to do?
I don’t want to discredit the actions of praying after a tragedy, but I do wonder what a nation who actively works to rid God out of any public square is going to pray about and why this is impulsively the first line of defense. My opinion is that in the worst human efforts to produce such a tragic event, we somehow see only one logical place to turn. In a world where we can have the answer to anything in a matter of seconds, we suddenly find ourselves stumped. As horrific as the present terror is, we surrender our own agenda and cry out for someone bigger than ourselves- someone bigger than government. For a brief moment- United we stand, completely surrendered to God. Wow.
There is no perfecting my agenda. I will always fail if I seek to make myself great. I may make all the money in the world, I may have the most beautiful bride (I do), but somewhere along the way I will fall short of perfection. We are an imperfect people and my logic will only lead me to an ultimately wicked end. Now, I probably won’t get involved with terrorism, but I will ultimately let someone down when my only motif is me. Others must come before me. This is why the secular expression “do what makes you happy.” simply won’t cut it in our horrifyingly wicked world.
In our efforts for moral reformation, we will never arrive at perfection alone. By our own efforts, there is no perfecting this material world. We are corrupt. And even if we could, would it ever make up for what happened in Orlando? I think not, there would still be a hole left gaping in our soul, that would still ache with memories.
But, that’s not what I believe. We will see a new heaven and a new earth. Keller writes:
In revelation 21, we do not see human being being taken out of this world into heaven, but rather heaven coming down and cleansing, renewing, and perfecting this material world.
I believe that our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. I believe what you WANT to believe- that, even if you hashtag #prayersfor____ to simply hashtag it, someone is listening. And someone, something, down the road is going to somehow, someway, make everything we don’t understand right. There is hope in that and I want you to believe it. I want you to mean it when you #PrayForOrlando. Like, holy smokes, really pray!!!
What starts as hope, we see a small glimmer of faith, and in faith there is glory.
C. S. Lewis wrote:
They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even the agony into glory.
“This is the ultimate defeat of evil and suffering. It will not only be ended but so radically vanquished that what has happened will only serve to make our future life and joy infinitely greater.” [Keller]