Where’s the Hero?

For the martyrs, there was no swooping rescue at the last moment. No one stopped the countdown at the last second. No life-giving serum counteracted death. They died, most of them in painful, horrible fashion.

All around us, tragedy strikes without warning. People die for no good reason. The weather, an out-of-control fight, a war. Lives end that were never involved in the problem.

Why?

I don’t know. I don’t know why suffering takes from those who have nothing to give and everything to lose. I don’t know why babies starve to death and earnest individuals can’t find decent work. I don’t know why the elderly are abandoned and the wicked get away scott-free.

In many passages, the Bible says that God sees the tears, counts the losses, and stores up wrath for those who harm the innocent. The martyrs will be avenged, the unjustly injured repaid. But when?

Why not now?

If God is indeed God, why does He let us suffer for things that aren’t our fault? Why does the weather decimate? Why do evil people roam free to harm and take? Why doesn’t God prevent all this bad stuff?

I don’t know. I can guess, based on what the Bible tells us. In the first place, humanity chose to sin. Humans chose to disobey, to break both rules and faith. As a result, the whole world is screwed. Even animals, even the weather. We broke the planet, so natural disasters are, in a way, our fault. Cold comfort.

Second, sin still rules in our bodies, and a whole bunch of people choose to follow its lead. Every rung on the economic ladder holds people who act selfishly, who do not care how others suffer so long as they get what they want. The effects ripple out in all directions, so even those who do what is right and good get caught in the waves.

Third, not everyone has had a chance to wise up and change. God is love, and He loves us humans, screwed up as we are. The most vile criminal is still redeemable, given enough time. God wants to give each of us enough time to not merely “get out of jail free” but to learn how to walk in freedom and live abundantly.

This doesn’t change or mitigate the pain of loss. It doesn’t bring people back from the dead, it doesn’t put food on the table. It gives hope. It is a promise from God that none of this is pointless. Pain has a purpose, and that purpose is our ultimate good. Yes, good even for those dead from the sins of others.

We have before us each day, each moment, a choice. We either believe God when He says He will keep His promises, or we don’t. We either choose to close ourselves off from the possibility that God will avenge and repay, or we don’t. We take His comfort or we don’t. We choose God, or we don’t.

I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people. I absolutely don’t like when that happens. But I either hold on to hope or give in to despair. I choose life. I hope you do, as well.

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