Why Did This Have To Happen?

I woke up like many of you to the news report of the shooting in Colorado.

The question that has been reverberating in my head all day is why—why did this have to happen?

I don’t have an answer to that question. I wished I could give an answer to all of you who are in pain, who have lost family and friends to this horrible tragedy, who are wondering as I am. I don’t get why someone could take another person’s life let alone multiple persons. How, why does someone cause so much pain purposely? I don’t get it. I doubt we’ll ever understand this tragedy.

I have heard all day about the victims, the wonderful, lovely, awesome, special people whose lives were ended last night. This sad, so very sad and there seems to be no way to soothe the broken hearts and repair the lives lost and left behind, to explain it.

I don’t know the immense sadness that those affected are feeling; I have never suffered a loss quite like this. My heart does go out for them and I hope that we will pray for them that we will do all we can to reach out and lend a warm, loving embrace to all the family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy.

I don’t know why this happened.

I don’t know how I can reconcile tragedies, horrors like this that happen and my belief, my trust in a God who loves unconditionally. A God who loves radically and wastefully and world where tragedy is all too real doesn’t seem to be consistent. I don’t want to marginalize suffering this current suffering or any suffering. Sometimes it seems life is full of suffering. I am not having a crisis of faith. I am wrestling, questioning, and examining why we suffer. This is such a large question. A question smarter and more compassionate men and women than myself have wrestled and questioned before and not come to any good answers. Maybe, no answer will make it better.

So, I will not find a solution to this puzzle here.

A few years ago, I suffered my own small, personal tragedy, in the form of a break up. I did go through a crisis of faith then, but I pushed through it and with the help of friends and wonderful people from church and came through it with a more mature, realistic faith. I know that even in the darkest night even when it seems we cannot go on that the world, as we know is over that a mysterious presence of love and grace surrounds us picks us up and sometimes carries us until we are able to walk again.

One of the few writers who don’t trivialize suffering is Rob Bell. Here are some of his words.

“Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, ‘God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.’

The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.

The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, ‘Me too.’

I don’t know the why, but I do know what we should do. We should pray for the friends and family of the wonderful, lovely, awesome, special people whose lives were lost today. We should stay positive and hug our loves more, tell our loved ones we love them as much as we can, show our appreciation of the people in our lives, offer a smile to everyone, love our neighbor, and give more of ourselves. There is always something we can do; sometimes the small acts of kindness mean more than big acts.

Let us live like Jesus did and calls us to, let us use this tragedy to live and love as Jesus is calling each of us to. This is how we can bring meaning to tragedy and celebrate the people lost by becoming the light and salt that Jesus calls us to in Matthew 5.

“You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I will leave you with the words of President Obama.

“If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. What matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That’s what matters. At the end of the day, what we’ll remember will be those we loved and what we did for others. That’s why we’re here.


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