Monday, October 17, 2011

Bad Things and Good People

Our generation has seen some tragedies. Earthquakes, shootings, tsunamis, hurricanes, wars, and disease... just to name a few. It's obvious to us that bad things happen to good people, and it leaves us with a frustrating question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

From what I gather from the first few verses of Luke 13, the people of Jesus' day also wanted to know why. One popular answer to this question back then was that bad things didn't happen to good people; bad things happen to people who deserve it. However, when someone told Jesus that the governor had murdered some people, Jesus' response took away the popular explanation for tragedy. "Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?" Jesus asked. "Is that why they suffered? Not at all!" (Luke 13:2-3, NLT). So much for that reason for tragedy.

What Jesus says next leads me to believe that both our generation and Jesus' generation are asking the wrong question. After all, if the answer to the big why question is what we need, Jesus would've given it to us. Since he can tell us what the reason ISN'T, it seems to me that he does know the reason, but instead of telling us, he moves directly from taking away the then-popular explanation for why to giving a stern warning: "You will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God" (Luke 13:3, NLT). He answered a question no one was asking: What if? What if it was me who died? What if I were meeting my Creator today?

Now, I don't mean to be a downer, but think about that for a minute. The thing about tragedies is that we rarely see them coming and rarely have time to put our affairs in order before they strike us. So, what if? What if you die today? What if that coworker you've been meaning to witness to dies today? God wants us to leave the why to him. We need to put our energy into the what if and let that question spur us on toward using each day like it's our last.

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