If you’d have asked me two weeks ago what my county needs, I’d have said, “A Target, a Panera, and a Starbucks.” Sometimes life sails along smoothly and deceives me into thinking my deepest needs are for clearance clothing and Caramel Macchiatos.
But today my heart is heavy because of two devastating recent events that have reminded me that I and we are deeply needy—and for things that money can’t buy and a barista can’t pour into a cup. Two weeks ago a well-known, respected, and good couple in our community was arrested for allegedly abusing the children they adopted from another country. Several days ago a gunman opened fire at a local industry, killing several, wounding many, and terrifying many more.
I know people who are close to both of these tragic situations, but I don’t pretend to know the depth of their horror, confusion, and pain. Certainly times like these call into question the people we thought we knew and perhaps even more the God who allowed this. If You’re good, how could You let this happen? Why?
As valid as these questions are, our deepest need is not for answers. What, then? Love? Community? What we need most isn’t a what at all but rather a Who. We need Jesus. Jesus is not a Christian cop-out, a grand delusion for our comfort, a genie in a bottle, or a legendary moral teacher. He is a real person, He is alive, He is God, He is in control, and He is the only true hope for a broken world.
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? I don’t know. This will never make sense to me this side of heaven. But you know what else doesn’t make sense? God loved us while we were spitting in His face and sent Jesus to take part in the human experience. He lived the perfect life we couldn’t and was murdered for our guilt. God brought Him back to life, and now He’s offered to us the unfathomable gift of grace—a relationship with Him, hope, help, comfort, purpose, and eternal life when we die. He is so good to give us this grace, and He has been good to me personally in a million other ways as I’ve journeyed with Him. So I choose to trust Him for salvation and for all the other things that don’t make sense.
Jesus will not take a Magic Eraser to your pain, but He does understand, and He will walk with you through it, comforting you and never leaving you. He loves you, He died for you, and He wants to be with you for the joys and heartaches of your life—no matter who you are or what you’ve done. My words are honest but imperfect, so I’d love it if you’d go from here to the pages of the Bible because it’s flawless. The book of John is a great place to start. Jesus will meet you there.
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10