We lost a seminarian son ten years ago in a plane crash. Hard to understand?
Yes. But bitter against God? No. He makes no mistakes. The more we see
things in that light, the better we can accept what happens to us. Would
you comment, please?
Answer: Your letter contains some extremely
important thoughts which I’m certain are shared by many Christians.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on them.
1) There is no way to know who is the author of a specific tragedy—God,
Satan, humans, “natural causes.” I do not believe that in all such events
it is appropriate to say “God allowed it.” Our logic, our reasoning,
our doctrine of the sovereignty of God, Biblical texts, may tempt us
to draw that conclusion. But we play God when we do so. Better, I believe,
to blame the “broken” world we have produced. God’s sovereignty
should be a solid foundation holding us securely in any terrible circumstance,
rather than making Him responsible — even indirectly.
2) People are different. When tragedy strikes there can be many responses
because of varied temperaments, personalities, and training. Some persons
are easy-going, some are easily discouraged; one man may weep, another
may become depressed; one woman will respond hysterically, another with
quiet despair. A few may handle catastrophes with little loss of equilibrium
or even with thoughtful resignation.
Are some responses sinful? Is one way more Christian than another?
The reaction that is most destructive would likely be most sinful. But
open bitterness, for a time, against God, may be less harmful to anyone
than quiet despair that causes ulcers or marital tension. Certainly
God can take our bitterness.
the Christian community, acceptance of each other is vital. This
means we should not expect others to have the same emotional reactions
to tragedy as we have. Heartaches, too, will heal. They are most likely
to heal when fellow Christians, with love and understanding, allow
and encourage each other in their individual responses, without
judging each other. You have handled, in your own way, the heartbreaking
loss of your fine son. Not all can or need to do so in just that manner.