Why doesn’t God prevent tragedy?

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We live in a world full of tragedy and pain. I heard one preacher say, “…years ago our world had Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, and Steve Jobs; now we have no Jobs, no Cash, and no Hope.”

It’s true. We live in a hurting world, a world where buildings fall, and cars crash, and cancer strikes, and kids drown, and hurricanes hit, and wars break out, and doctors mess up, and shootings happen. We live in a world where the common denominator of humanity is pain.

And yet, as Christians, we claim to believe that God is all-powerful and all-good. If that is true, then why doesn’t God prevent tragedy?

Ultimately, questions like these are beyond my ability to comprehend. My finite mortal mind cannot fully grasp God’s infinite immortal purpose.

That is why I’m so thankful for the Bible. The Bible is full of stories of people going through hard times that they did not understand. Yet, through it all, God was still faithful, strong, and good. We will all still experience tragedy and pain in life, but it is comforting to go through hard times clinging to the promises of God. Let me share with you some of my favorite Scriptures relevant to the problem of pain and suffering. I would encourage you to look up these passages and read them in context if one sticks out to you!

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 23:1-6 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 26:3-4 – You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Romans 8:28, 31, 38-39 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…. What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:8-11 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.

Revelation 21:3-5 – And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Father, even when we don’t understand our circumstances, we thank you for giving us your promises to rest on. We still believe that you are strong, you are good, and you are with us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.