What Good is God? Philip Yancey on Faith in Tragedy’s Wake
- Monday, September 13, 2010
CW: You mentioned having been in Mumbai, and you also talk in the book about having been on the Virginia Tech campus speaking a week or so after the terrible shootings there, having recently suffered a broken neck at the time. What were those experiences like? How did you see God bring comfort to those situations, if indeed you did?
PY: I remember when September 11 happened. It was a Tuesday, and my church spontaneously filled with hundreds of people. There was no announced service, but people were so shell-shocked, they wanted to come together. They wanted comfort. They wanted hope. So there was this spontaneous service.
The same thing happened in Mumbai. It was Thanksgiving Day in the
I remember when I spoke at Virginia Tech, I was looking at these kids who were so unprepared for processing something like that, and they should be unprepared. Nobody can process something like that. Their classmates were just gunned down attending French class. Where do you go for hope?
Well, there are no easy answers, but there are some answers in our faith that people who have no faith don't have. They say, "Well, it was a random occurrence. You just got to live with it, and it's a survival-of-the-fittest world." That is not comfort. I think that is where the body of Christ means the most, because we have somewhere to go. We have someone else to lean on. We do have a hope that other people don't have.
PY: I remember telling the folks at Virginia Tech, "There are a lot of things I can't answer for you. I can't answer why this happened—why John died but not Paul. I can't answer that, and I don't think the Bible really gives us answers there." But I referred to a phrase that I had gotten from one of Dallas Willard's books, The Divine Conspiracy. He said, paraphrasing Romans 8:28, "For those who love God, nothing irredeemable can happen to you." We are never given a promise that nothing bad will happen.
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