The bombings at the Boston Marathon again have people shaking their fists, pointing fingers, and asking, “Where was God?” The first instinct of many when something tragic occurs is to blame God for not preventing it or even to accuse Him of orchestrating it. Strip away everything else you know about God and you will be left with an incomprehensible love. Love does not maim; it does not kill. Love protects and heals. There is no part of the bombing that was part of God’s plan, despite what some seriously misguided individuals might have you believe. Sickness and hatred were behind the bombings. These traits are the antithesis of who God is.
Why are we so quick to blame God when things go wrong, yet so hesitant to give Him credit when good things occur? Our tendency is to ignore Him until we are desperate or simply need someone to blame. This becomes part of the problem. A heart that is not focused on God is a heart susceptible to the deviant ways of sin. If we were truly reflecting the love of Christ into the darkest corners of the world, perhaps more would find what they are looking for in Him rather than in false religions and misguided endeavors.
The evil humans do can be traced directly back to our fallen and sinful nature. God has blessed us with the gift of free will; He has mapped out the ideal plan, but it is up to us to follow and obey. God created everything and holds it all together (Colossians 1:17). Nothing exists outside of His power. His command to us is to love one another. When we do not love, sin creeps in, twisting and distorting our minds. Instead of loving everyone, we instead become capable of committing atrocious acts of violence. These things are happening every day, but sometimes an event occurs close to home that makes us sit up and take notice. God wasn’t absent when the bombs exploded. He grieves just like us when His children abandon the ways of love and give in to hate and depravity. This was not what He planned. It is not what He intended. Every soul killed or injured was created to serve God. They were His children.
If you take away free will, you also take away love. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to be in a world devoid of love? God’s deepest desire is that we worship Him and love one another. When people choose to not do that, sin and evil are unleashed on our world. It is not God’s design; His design is love. Love by definition requires choice; it requires free will. Love cannot be forced; neither can free will. People who reject God are capable of committing unspeakable acts. The only cure is love. Pray that those affected by this tragedy will find comfort and hope in the love of Jesus. Pray that those responsible will repent and recognize how desperate they are for Christ’s love. Let all of us who claim Jesus to be Lord of our lives model inexplicable peace and love during these troubled days. Let us clearly reflect the love of Christ and model His peace and understanding to all those affected.