A few thoughts in the aftermath of the bombings in Boston:
We’ve all had a long week. In the follow-up to the emotionalism of the bombings in Boston, we get word of a small Texas town being leveled by a factory explosion.
What is going on?
Let me just share some of my frustrations with what I’m seeing/hearing from individuals, news sources and social media.
- “How could this happen here?” (translated: these things only happen ‘over there’)
For decades, Americans have been reading news accounts of roadside bombs, missile deployments, genocides, beheadings, etc.
The same day of the Boston bombings, hundreds were killed worldwide.
We dismiss Middle Eastern/African tragedies as simply ‘tribal peoples doing what tribal peoples do.’ We see the headlines, and quickly move on the next story.
But when it happens here…
*Pray for the fine people of Boston and West, TX. Pray also for the fine people of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Evil knows no boundaries.*
- “Damn terrorists.” (translated: Middle Eastern Muslims are surely behind this)
To their credit, American media, in general, is being far more careful with accusatory statements, in playing the blame game. We must all be careful not to jump to conclusions.
Even the Muslim world is watching this event play out. And they’re nervous.
Here is what happens: when an individual, or group of individuals, is accused publicly of a crime, the accusations are what people remember. Whether true or not, the accused are now assumed guilty in the public theater. It is near impossible to undo the damage from false accusations.
Retractions and apologies are few and far between.
*Let’s be careful in jumping to conclusions. We’ve ALL been wrong before.*
- “Signs of the end times.” (translated: that TV preacher I support IS right)
No matter your eschatology, we need to focus on the present. Whether you call yourself a pre-millenialist, an a-millenialist, a Muslim or an atheist, none of us know for sure what the future holds.
I think we’ve seen the folly of end-time claims. To be sure, I believe our country (and every country) needs to repent and be restored to full relationship with God and each other, but nothing gives me the right to point to these events and smugly say, “See, I told you this would happen if we quit reading the King James Version.
And if you’ll send your donations to my attention, I’ll be able to reach more people with this message. You don’t want this to happen again, do you?”
*These things will indeed keep happening, because there is evil in this world. We must accept this, and continue to offer hope and peace, found in following Christ devotedly.*
- “How could God let this happen?” (translated: God is good, except when He’s not, OR How can you believe in a God that allows things like this to happen?)
This argument has been invoked since the beginning of time. And I get it. I really do understand the question, especially when it comes from one who is in the midst of suffering. All I can say is,
“I don’t know.”
Because I don’t. And you don’t.
Instead of wasting our time and energy attempting to answer this question (hundreds of biblical, scholarly books have been written on the subject), might it not be better for us to spend our time comforting each other?
Too simplistic for you? Sound like a cop out?
Go right ahead and quote scripture to the family who just lost their child (you are assuming, of course, that they believe in your God, and/or hold scripture in as high regard as you do). Go ahead and argue the finer points of Calvinism and Arminianism. Go ahead and be of no real help at all.
*God IS our only hope in dealing with issues like this. But that is probably not the best place to start. Love them. Comfort them. Show the suffering what ‘Jesus love’ looks like.
I’m done. Frustrated? You bet. Tired? Yes.
Stop trying to explain everything. Talking people to death doesn’t help their hurting hearts.
‘Faring thee well now
Let your life proceed by its own design
Nothing to tell now
Let the words be yours, I am done with mine
I am done with mine…’
Peace. Pastor Greg