How to Think about the Bombing in Boston (as Christ-followers)

Boston

Whenever a tragedy occurs, the nation goes into shock and the responses are expected, predictable, and understandable:

  • People (often politicians or law enforcement) say things like – "Evil will not win."
  • Observers often say things like, "How can this happen? I don't understand why anyone would do such wicked things."
  • Politicians and law enforcement ensure the public that "We will find who did this…" "They will be brought to justice…" etc… 
  • Many, many strong statements of patriotism are made and the usually divides of Republican versus Democrat go away for a short period.

All of those are understandable. Of course, we take even a stronger interest here because a women from our church and worship team was in Boston near the explosions and was one who underwent surgery yesterday (I haven't heard an update yet on Gina).

And I just want to remind you of how Christians should think about such things. All of the above ideas are right, good, and fair, but there should be a couple of thoughts that enter the minds of Christ-followers every time there is a tragedy. Let me suggest a few:

  1. We live in a fallen, sin-cursed world.This world is broken and because of sin, sinners do terribly wicked and sinful things. Although each instance shocks us, we should never be surprised. 
  2. Hope is not found in capturing the perpetrators (as much as we all want that to happen). If and when we capture the individual(s) who did this, that won't solve the problems of our world. We root for justice in these situations and we want justice, and that is good. But we can't set our hope in capturing the terrorists of this event. 
  3. The cross of Christ is the only remedy for evil. Tighter security will not keep us safe. More laws will not keep things like yesterday from happening (I'm not opposed to proper laws for public safety, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking solutions are found in more laws). It is only radically changed hearts – whose compositions have been rearranged by the Gospel – that can solve the problem of evil.
  4. God is sovereign and can be trusted. I don't understand why He allows such things as yesterday, but I know for certain He is sovereign and can be trusted, and that is where my hope is.

When we keep those four things in mind, it helps us to navigate tragedies such as yesterday. What other Truths should be kept in mind at times like this? Do you have suggestions?

5 comments
  1. 1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

    We should have confidence and not despair in such times, the battle that rages here has already been won. Great is our God.

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for posting these thoughts; a great reminder to direct our attention to Christ when the world around us seems to be going mad. One question I hear often is “why would a loving God allow such suffering?” Well, our God is not only loving, but He is JUST, and He is sovereign. When sin entered this world, the entire human race lost its innocence. Our loving and fair God then provided a way to re-gain our innocence at heaven’s gate: Christ on the cross. Unfortunately, while we live on this earth we live with sin and evil, and often suffer as a result. When I see or experience such suffering, I remind myself of Jesus at the tomb of Lazerus; weeping. Remember that Jesus could have arrived earlier and prevented Lazerus’ death. He chose to wait; all was as He intended. So, here is a picture of our God, preparing to bring a man (that He had allowed to die)back to life and reveal His power over death itself; yet moved deeply by the grief and sorrow of the lost souls around him. The Truth I am reminded of is that yes, we do have a loving God; but His plan is greater than we can see right now. We are mourners at the gravesite; and He is on the cusp of returning. And in the moments of time before we witness Him raising the dead, He weeps with us in our suffering and grief.

  3. God doesn’t use evil to accomplish His will..He uses committed followers. We do live in a fallen world. ‘In the world you WILL have trouble, BUT I have overcome the world.’ God had nothing to do with this evil act. ‘The enemy comes not but to rob, kill, and destroy.’ Knowing God, you know He had nothing to do with terror. Being sovereign doesn’t mean everything that happens is His will or even that He was the one allowing it. God came that we might have life and that more abundantly.He gave His Son to die for us. That is Love Himself. He does not allow legs to be blown off for His purposes. God was there talking to people to protect and save. In the helpers, and to anyone who would listen.

  4. When tragedy strikes close to home I often think about Luke 13:1-9,
    “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” NIV
    These people thought that tragedy only strikes the worst of sinners and Jesus corrected their false beliefs. They had the self-righteous approach. Our culture tends to question God and place blame on Him when tragedy strikes and ultimately become disillusioned and bitter. Whether one tends to blame others or God, Jesus brings our focus back where it needs to be…on ourselves. Jesus seized the opportunity to preach self-examination which would lead ultimately to the Gospel. I believe we need to have a Gospel approach to tragedy. Like Jesus, lets seize the opportunity to talk about how fragile life is and that death could knock at any one of our doors. When things like this happen and I find myself in conversation with someone I’ll often say something like, “Life is so fragile huh?” or “We really don’t know when we’re gonna die do we?” With hopes that this will lead to further discussion about what really matters…their eternity.

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