The last few weeks have been a world wind. Fourteen fellow brethren have made their transition, thirteen of them dying in a tragic vehicle accident returning from a spiritual retreat. Then, inexplicably, the wife of the driver of the church van, Diane Barrett, died suddenly a few days ago.
In the midst of the grief and bewilderment the default reaction is to ask the question “Why.” While it is understandable from a purely human perspective it remains the wrong “divine” question. It is the question that will never grant the relief or consolation so desperately desired. In a real sense a more proper contemplation would rather be “why not” as every person who should happen to read this blog is living under immense grace and mercy. The Scripture reveals God is so Holy He cannot look upon sin, yet you and I are so breathing His air and enjoying His bounty.
It is an often overlooked fact that the Lamb (Jesus Christ) was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The fact that you and I will take another breath, regardless if we are a fervent believer in Jesus Christ or an abject pagan is the “Common Grace” afforded to us due exclusively to the death of Christ. Even though Christ was killed in “time and space” a little over 2000 years ago God the Father reckoned Him as dead and applied His benefits to every human being who will ever live between the Alpha and Omega of human history from the very foundation of the world. That is one of the ways the Death of Christ is applicable to every human being but this is going beyond the scope of this post (I will post regarding that topic in a future post, if the Lord should tarry His coming).
People often lament they want justice yet if God were to execute judgment no one would remain. A word of wisdom: Never ask God for justice because if He ever meted out that justice He would have to destroy every single living creature in the very next moment. This truth is perfectly illustrated in the 13th chapter of Luke where some naive individuals asked Christ about the alleged senseless tragedy of some Galileans who were killed by a wicked ruler, the notorious Pilate, and 18 individuals who were killed when a tower fell upon them. Thinking Christ would “wax poetic” about the sense of loss and how horrible the event was Christ simply instructed His questioners, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The only proper biblical response to tragedy is “why didn’t it happen to you or why didn’t it happen sooner” Instead of “why” it is better to contemplate, “why not. ” We really do not even come close to properly understanding the holiness of God and the wretchedness of our sin.
Ask the wrong question and invariably you arise at the wrong answer. When tragedy happens our first response should NEVER be “why could such a tragedy occur.” We should stand amazed more tragedy doesn’t take place or take place sooner and more dramatically. The wonder IS NOT that anyone goes to Hell. The wonder is how in the world does ANYONE go to Heaven!
That is why Newton “hit it right on the head” when he understood it was because of God’s Amazing Grace!
With much fear and trembling,
Keep Your Hand to the Plow!