One of my friends recently asked for how I would explain why the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary happened. Here is an edited version of my response:
Everyone has a hard time trying to explain. The only way I can respond is from a position of faith in the God who said that he would never leave or forsake us. When Adam and Eve were disobedient to God, the entire creation was no longer the good and kind world that God created it to be, neither in terms of humanity nor the earth itself. But God loved creation and did not want to destroy it. In the meantime, though, everything is broken in terms of God’s original intent. And when that happened, it also opened the door to evil. So, sadly, people get cancer and hurricanes like Sandy happen because the earth is broken. And since God did not create us as robots who blindly do his will, yes, people do unspeakable things to each other like killing 20 children and 6 of their caring teachers.
That’s why the gospel message is so important. This tragedy was not part of God’s will and God did not make this happen. He also did not abandon those people in their hour of need. God did not tell us that believing in Jesus would mean we would never again experience bad things. But, when we allow Jesus to change our lives and because of that, we reach out to change others’ lives and so on, we begin to see a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, where things will be as God intended, where people choose God’s way instead of their own. We know that still doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen. Bad things even happened to Jesus as people lived in their God-given free will. But when we live the gospel rather than simply knowing it, we push back against the brokenness and that gives us hope. The healing of the brokenness will be complete when Jesus returns in victory over all that is contrary to God’s original intent for creation.
You may also be interested in my post “Why?” from September 2011.