Select Page

God Doesn’t Watch as the World Wails – My Response to Recent Tragedy

God Doesn’t Watch as the World Wails – My Response to Recent Tragedy

My goodness. Where do I even begin.

So many thoughts race through my mind as I look at our world.

I have to be honest, I’d rather not share the thoughts that come to mind as I consider the events of last week.

I have a fear of saying the wrong thing. I worry I’ll be labeled, dismissed, and misunderstood.

But as my preacher said this weekend, “If the Church doesn’t speak up now, when will she?

His words were a blow to my gut. I didn’t plan to comment about the immense tragedies we’ve witnessed recently, but now I must. In times like these, the last thing the Church should do is remain silent. And so, I won’t.

Our Broken World

Sometimes, it is incredibly easy to forget just how broken this world is. I know I forget. I get caught up in my own life. I forget there are other people whose struggles makes mine look like heaven.

Other times, the veil of routine is lifted, and we come face to face with evil. We stare deep into its dark, beady eyes and feel a small piece of our soul die. Last week was one of those “other times.” I have to be honest, though: I am thankful to have looked into the face of evil.

Why? Because I never want to become so callous that I am not shaken to my core when I hear of tragedy.

I am often immune to these types of events. I don’t watch the news for the very reason of not wanting to hear or see the hopeless plight of humanity and creation.

Yet despite selfish attempts to lock myself inside a safe little bubble, God’s voice breaks through and says, “Look at them. Do not ignore their suffering.”

My Wake-Up Call

For me, the painful wake-up call began shortly before the events of this past week.

Two Fridays ago, I received a video link from a family member. It was about a dog. The accompanying text simply said, “I thought this would speak to your heart.”

God has given me a very soft place in my heart for animals. It’s deeper than just being “an animal lover.” It is something truly spiritual that goes beyond the realm of the natural. You’ll understand when I share what happened next.

The video was meant to be an inspiring story of one dog’s recovery from a traumatic injury, but it didn’t start out very hopeful.

I watched in horror as the video captured the traumatic moments following this dog’s injury. He had been hit by a train. Tears filled my eyes as I watched a man in the video pick up the dog. It was then that the extent of his injuries became obvious: his legs were completely crushed.

I cannot fully explain what happened next. I turned away. I had to. I doubled over with grief and physical sickness.

As horrific as the images of the video were, I was more haunted by the sound that accompanied it–wailing.

I wasn’t sure where the sound was coming from at first, but then I realized. It was me.

The mourning voice that cried out was my own, yet it sounded like another’s. It was foreign. It shook me. Even though the grief was mine, I somehow felt entirely removed from that eerie voice as I listened to it wail and sob and cry.

How can this world be so cruel, dark, and broken? When did we get to the place where sweet, innocent doggies have their legs crushed by trains? How did it get to the place where one human can stare into the face of another while murdering him?

This out-of-body experience created an open wound in which the world would rub its stinging, burning salt.

As I learned of each tragedy that took place last week, the sound of my own wailing echoed in my mind. I couldn’t silence it as my head hit the pillow every night.

The wailing grew louder as I considered the children who are raped daily for profit. The wailing became deafening as I lamented the animals who are murdered for our own sport, neglect, or convenience. The wailing drowned my soul as I thought of the humans who take the lives of their brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, the wailing ceased and was replaced by a hushed voice.

“That wailing you hear,” the voice whispered, “it is not just your own. It is Mine too.”

Our Question to God

We so often forget that we are made in God’s image. We forget it when we neglect the beauty of creation and the animal kingdom He has given us. We forget it when we end the image of God in the life of another human being. And we forget it when, in the midst of tragedy, we ask, “Where is God in moments like these?”

God does not watch as the world wails, dear friend. He wails with us.

Where do we think our misery comes from? We are made in God’s image. When our souls are darkened and a little piece of our spirit dies, so does God’s. We reflect His grief and mourning.

God’s Questions to Us

Oftentimes, I find myself wondering when God is going to step in and do something about the problems in our world. Lately though, I’ve been reminded that God’s solution for the world’s suffering is the Church. As Shane Claiborne says, we can ask God to move our mountains, but we shouldn’t be surprised when He hands us a shovel.

Yes, God has all power and authority, but He has given a piece of it to us. What are we doing with it?

I’d like to pose to you a challenging question a friend recently asked me: “Where does God break your heart?

There is no better time for the Church to ask herself this question than in the midst of heartache.

As we grieve and mourn and pray, let us be unsettled by God’s probing questions:

Where does our wailing mingle with God’s?

Where does He break our hearts?

And more importantly, what are we going to do about it?