When we experience loss, we try to understand why this has happened. We are, especially in the initial stages, left with few answers and many questions; usually they are “why” questions. “Why?”…“Why me?”…”Why now?” We would like to find a way to understand what has happened. There should at least be somewhere to assign blame. When we don’t find the answers we may blame ourselves; we must have done something wicked to have caused this misfortune.
There are instances in the Bible where judgment falls as the result of unrighteous behavior, but when Jesus taught on this topic, He indicated that tragedies and hardships aren’t usually God’s judgment.
Jesus and His disciples once “…saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2 Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
3 “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered….” (John 9:1-3).
On another occasion, Jesus addressed two calamities. One was Pilate’s execution of some Galileans and the other concerned victims of a natural disaster. Jesus said, “Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them? 3 Not at all.4 What about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? 5 Not at all!…”
As a pastor, I’m asked the “why” questions on a regular basis and I admit that often I don’t have the answers. I do have, however, a positive recourse. I don’t know “why” things happen, but I do know “who” to turn to. I encourage the hurting (and the happy for that matter) to turn to God. Some say this is trite and superficial and will not solve anything. I disagree. I recall as a boy being injured and in pain, I would find my father and climb onto his lap. True, the injury still existed and the pain was still present, but there was safety, comfort, fellowship, security and love with my father and somehow the pain subsided.
Are you hurting? Try changing the “why” to “who” and turn to Jesus who said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls…” (Mathew 11:28, 29).
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church