February 3

This past week or so has once again seen many dealing with tragedy, even while we are still trying to cope with the recent shootings at a Colorado theater and a Connecticut elementary school and other tragedies.
Brazil theater fire in which over 230 people, mostly young adults aged 18 to 21, died
Junior ACU student Lindsey Smith killed in a car accident near Abilene
Alabama school bus driver shot and a child on the bus taken and held hostage

What response should Christians have to such terrible experiences? How do we reply when our friends and neighbors ask why things like this occur, or why a loving God allows them to happen?
A few simplistic statements that need further discussion would include these assertions.
Some bad things happen because of my failures and sins.
Some bad things happen because of the failures and sins of others.
Some bad things happen simply because we live in a world that is imperfect. “Natural” and other types of tragedies are a reality in a fallen, physical, temporary world.

So why does God not stop some of these things? Why does He allow them to happen? Here are a few similar simplistic statements, again that require more time in discussion than one short bulletin article.
Not everything that happens is God’s will.
But God works for good in everything, the good and the bad, and remains in control (Romans 8:28).
There is a difference between God causing bad things to happen and bringing good out of the bad.
God’s concern goes beyond our physical safety. God works for our ultimate good, for our
ultimate spiritual good.
God works not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of all. It may be that my suffering may be critical in bringing salvation for others in God’s world.

We discussed some of these issues and questions in our recent men’s class on Wednesday nights, using as our focus the life and experiences of Joseph in the book of Genesis. I’m looking forward to sharing this study with our Wednesday night auditorium class beginning in March, and I hope that if you are not going to a class on Wednesday nights that you will be a part of this timely study.
I’ll say more about this in next week’s Family Page article. But I’ll end this one with this challenging statement: The deepest level of faith is trusting God when we do not understand what’s happening, and when we disagree with how He is acting or not acting. That’s when faith is really faith.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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