Tragedy. Most of us feel initially helpless when large-scale tragedies occur. Despite our efforts to help, sometimes the haunting question: “Why?” is a stumbling block that’s hard to get around. Many believe that tragedy is somehow God’s will or punishment for sin. My colleague, Eric Nelson, writing for the October 12, 2015 edition of Communities digital News, is willing to explore this question of “Why?” and his reasoning here sends us in a new direction when faced with tragedy. Here’s Eric:
Having taught Sunday school for the better part of 25 years, you’d think I’d know better than to start a class – especially a college class – with “Any questions?”
“This may not be that original,” offered up my lone student recently, “but I’ve been wondering lately why bad things keep happening to good people.”
True. His question wasn’t that original. But how can anyone read about some senseless act of violence or see floodwaters covering entire counties and not wonder what’s behind such awful events?
I should have had a ready answer. After all, it’s not like this was the first time I’d been asked this question. But instead I found myself being unexpectedly candid – both with my student and with myself. “I can’t say for sure,” I admitted, “but I’d be happy to explore the topic together, if that’s OK with you.”
Mind you, this was an exceptionally bright young man, who I knew would likely be as game for this sort of discussion as he would a sail around the bay. I also knew that it wasn’t my job to convince him of anything, simply to encourage him to consider the possibilities.
So we began….