Making Sense of Tragedy

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul… ESV Proverbs 19:8

Tragic news confronts us daily. Whether church shootings, nuclear tests, or protests gone awry, we learn of people killing other people. It wasn’t always this way (or so we tell ourselves). We struggle to understand why a young man would gun down so many people in a church. We don’t comprehend why God would allow such a thing. We fear a nuclear attack, a copy-cat shooting, a hate-filled encounter with someone on the street. How do we make sense of such a thing?

Solomon called us to get sense. He reminded us getting sense benefits our own soul as it enables us to understand the world around us. As situations around us continue to deteriorate, the more we can make sense of them, the more settled we will be in our soul. Learning to accurately process tragedy around us is a vital part of our spiritual formation. Remember, the gospel is always the lens through which we process these things. First, be reminded God created us to be with Him in relationship. Despite the tragedies, we all have an inherent draw toward God and others. Secondly, our sin separates us from God. Hence relationships break down, hate ensues, people crave power. Third, our sins can’t be removed by good works. No matter how many gun control laws we pass, we won’t get rid of sin. No matter how tight nuclear treaties are worded, we won’t eliminate dictators. Sin continues despite our best efforts. We must remember that Jesus paid the price for sin and rose again. Only Jesus can truly eradicate the world of sin. While we fight for justice and racial equality, only Jesus will truly enable this. While we work to eradicate poverty, only Jesus can truly free anyone. Those who will have life must believe in Jesus. Only faith in Jesus can change atheists to worshipers, dictators to compassionate leaders and racists into lovers of people. This life-change can begin now, and last forever, but only when people embrace Jesus.

As we consider the circumstances of the world through the gospel lens, we have a hope for the tragedies. We won’t fully understand them, but the gospel enables us to make some sense of our circumstances and thus live with purpose and not fear. Finding sense in the gospel is good for our souls.


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