Tag Archives: tragedy

The Blame Game

Since the horrific events of December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, I have tried to figure out how to respond.  I spend last week answering the unanswerable questions in the Sunday School class that I teach.  I can’t imagine how empty the Christmas season must be for families  that have presents that will never be opened.

I want some sort of soothing salve that I can pour over the situation and smooth away the pain and anger and fear.  I want answers; so we can all make sense of this.  I want to know how and why it happened; so we can make sure it never happens again.  I want to know if it was the guns, mental illness, bad parenting or video games that caused this. I am looking for someone or thing to blame.  I also want to choke the life out of the next person who says it was all a part of God’s plan.

Faith should provide answers to the problems of great evil.  Faith should prove hope in times of grief.  Faith should provide light in the midst of darkness, but spiritual giants have often witnessed the “dark night of the soul.”

Faith as a “get out of hell free card” or “fire insurance” is too often the message.  My witness is to a faith where God is with us in tragedy not creating tricky escapes.  My faith is in a God who deals with the tough times.  My faith is in a God who weeps.

My faith is also in a God who loves and laughs.  I suspect there is a lot of time spent giggling at my foolishness.  My faith is in a God who can use tragedy; not one who seeks or causes it. I believe that in the midst of grief, God’s love is still present providing hope.

My faith is in a God who entrusts us with a mission to make the world better.  Most amazingly my faith is in a God who has faith in us,,,yep you and me.  Ain’t that crazy!

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Tragedy…when you least expect it

KC linebacker Jovan Belcher

KC linebacker Jovan Belcher

This week as I was beginning to teach my class, someone called my attention to a hand raised toward the back of the room.  My heart dropped a bit when I heard, “What do you think about that situation in KC?”  I did not have a plan to discuss the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher, the linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday morning.  I am also serious in my commitment to do the best I can with any question raised.

After some initial stammering to buy time, I began with observing it was a horrible and tragic event with  no good or right answers.  A professional athlete in the prime of his career killed his girlfriend, the mother of his three month old daughter; then drove to the stadium; talked with his coach & other team officials; finally turning his gun on himself.  In similar situations, I have heard folks say that it is all in God’s plan.  I recoil and reject any idea that a benevolent creator could plan such a tragedy.

I think it is OK to acknowledge that sometimes there just is no answer.  Sometimes there just are no right words.  Some situations truly can’t be fixed.  Sometimes we stand at the abyss with nothing to say.  We are not weak or defective or impotent because we find situations that we can’t solve.  We are human.

I wonder if Jovan would have made better choices if he had remembered his humanity.  He was a huge man.  Truly the biggest man on campus and admired by everyone.  To most of the folks he met, he was a hero.  So many little boys wanted to grow up to be just like him.  The biggest and baddest guy around.  He had a beautiful girlfriend, a lovely daughter, fame, and money.  He had what everybody is striving to achieve.  He destroyed the most important things that he had.

I don’t know why.  The investigations are ongoing, but no matter what they find…they will never really find any answers.

I hope that each of you will take a few moments this week to let the folks around you know that you care.  Even the biggest and strongest among us might need a bit of help and encouragement.  Even when we discover problems that we can’t solve, we can be there.

A little girl got home from playing late.  Her mother was unhappy and asked why she was late.  She explained that her friend had crashed and broken her bicycle.  Mom exclaimed, “You shouldn’t have stayed.  You can’t fix a bike.”  The little girl replied, “I know, but I could help her cry.”

Have a great week.

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