The question of pain and suffering stands as an unanswered question many times. For those who look to dismiss the existence of God, this one argument is a common default. Understandably, in the aftermath of a tragedy, as the pain dissipates, we look for a responsible party.
For the Christian who is looking to defend God’s good nature, I would say it isn’t necessary. God’s character will come to light to those who, through the lens of tragedy, are looking for the truth. The best response to the grieving is to grieve with them. So many foolish things can be said when we try to console the hurting with a trite line of piety.
The question, however, is still there. The second response at times can be to blame the devil. I understand that this many times may be a correct charge. The devil does come to steal, kill, and to destroy. Yet we must be careful, as the book of Jude warns us, not bring “railing accusations” against even the enemy. I say this because blaming the devil for tragedy rarely empowers a victim toward a direction of healing. Instead, it can actually promote the idea that the devil has the power to execute evils against us. It leaves many to believe that God stands indifferent or, at worst powerless in the face of destruction.
The response I have found strengthening is to encourage believers and unbelievers to lay down the weapon of accusation and look to the healing power of God’s presence and His truth to mend our brokenness. Specifically addressing loss and seeing tragedy through the eyes of God’s revelation enables us to see this life in the eternal perspective and hold a reasonable view of pain. This approach can keep us from falling into the pit of accusation, bitterness, or un-forgiveness.
I have found that many tragedies or evils in life are the direct results of wickedness or ignorance working out of the heart of other people. Broken people break other people. This brings into light the awakening realization that every person needs redemption. We are in need of a Savior. This conclusion can empower compassion rather than immobilize a heart.
To the degree that humans can destroy others through their own broken nature, even more, the Holy Spirit can bring life to others through a redeemed heart. Where sin (and it’s destruction, if I may add) abounds, there the grace of God (and His redemptive nature) abounds much more.
I write this as not one who has been sterilized from tragedies in my own life, but as on who has been powerfully redeemed out of dark pits of despair. Grace always wins.