Loss of Life

Yesterday’s tragic coach crash in Switzerland will have touched the hearts of many. Trying to make sense of the loss of so many young lives is doomed to failure. How can we reconcile what we believe about God, that he is all-loving, all-knowing, all-caring, with death and destruction? For myself, I think the only truthful answer is, we can’t. However much we try, we cannot know the mind of God. We do not know why he allows such tragedies, and I think we belittle the loss and the suffering if we claim that there is some ‘higher purpose’ involved. How can we be so sure? Why should he die? Why should she get cancer? Why should they lose their home and family? Why, why, why?

Perhaps ‘why’ is not the most important question to ask. Could it be that, when such tragedies occur, God is looking for a different response in us? Are we, who are not directly involved, called upon to affirm the goodness of God and our own trust in him? The Book of Job challenges our confident assertions about the nature of God even as it stretches our understanding. Today, as we pray for those who were killed, their families and friends, let us add a prayer for ourselves, that we may learn whatever it is that we need to learn — and let us not be too quick to assume that we know what that is.


13 thoughts on “Loss of Life”

  1. Trusting in God’s infinite goodness, no matter what, is surely the making of saints. Let us pray that we come some way close to beginning to move in the right direction.

  2. The sooner we stop looking to God for answers and asking why He is failing His creation by allowing one tragedy after another, which once again, and only prompts the question. Why do bad things happen to good people? The only question which has any relevance is why are we here? This may not heal the hurt, but the search will bring purpose and contentment to our lives.

    • I would hesitate to use words like ‘failing’ in this context. If God is God, then what is his obligation towards his creation? I think you are right, however, that we ask the wrong questions. For me it is not the existence of bad things in life but the existence of good which really stops me in my tracks.

  3. These are questions that our minds are compelled to seek answered. I agree they are unanswerable. Life goes on presenting death and destruction in the midst of all that is good. The good and the bad seem to go hand and hand. Seems no rhyme, no reason. On a good day one has faith. A bad day one takes a darker view.

    • Leads one to re-think, to re- work one’s notions of God. Does all loving-knowing-powerful encompass the shadow aspects of our lived experience, I ask myself. God is love and a merciful God is present to us in our difficulties: seems what ultimately matters, and more fruitful occupation of the mind and heart in distress.

      Must leads to further study.

      • I entirely agree that our ideas about God are often faulty. We seem to want him to be supremely free one moment, and do our personal bidding the next . . . maybe you don’t, but I recognize that in myself.

    • Yes, there are many good books that tackle this and similar subjects. One of our problems is that we live in a society where someone is always accountable; and I’m not sure that someone (big or small ‘s’) always is. Are you?

  4. I think God does not micro-manage our lives the way the modern Western world — or at least many Americans — would conceive of it due to the way we now manage our own lives — and those of family members, friends even. Human beings are free to make choices; with capitalism we have forgotten that individuals are responsible for the choices they make: We place an inordinate amount of responsibility in the hands of institutions, companies, schools and then we refuse to face the consequences and want a larger entity to answer for us.

  5. In the dark times I found comfort in a remark by Brother Someone-whose-name-I-can’t-remember, from the Taize community; I can’t remember the exact words either, but it is along the lines of “God’s existence doesn’t depend on my belief in him”. So, when my faith level takes a dive, it doesn’t extinguish the light of Christ.

Comments are closed.