Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Apr. 18, 2007


Living with what we Don't Understand 
This devotional was written by Jim Burns & Jim Liebelt

“…the Lord our God is righteous in everything He does.” Daniel 9:14

I wish we all could have lived the rest of our lives without hearing of another tragic campus shooting. But, here we go again. I don't know anyone who isn't moved by the recent shootings at Virginia Tech University. Once again, we are struck with grief that so many lives were cut short in this senseless act of violence. Once again, we have felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy. And personally, my heart goes out to the victims and the families’ lives that will be forever changed by this event.

In times like this, my brain starts to short-circuit. Why do these tragic things happen to people? Where is God when these things happen? Honestly, I have to admit, I don’t understand.

Sure, theologians have explanations. Because of sin, we all deserve God’s wrath. Anything good we experience is due to God’s grace and mercy (I believe these things, by the way!). But, tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings still don’t compute. I can’t get my brain around them. Some might see these issues as a roadblock to faith, because they can’t “believe” in a God who would allow such tragedies. I just heard one radio talk show host state that events like this are why he is an agnostic. But, do you know what I’ve discovered? It’s okay that we don’t always understand. Even though I don’t understand – and can be frustrated and angry at these tragedies – I still believe.

In fact, I think that part of a life of faith in God includes living with things we don’t understand. Take for example the Biblical account of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The Bible makes it clear that God “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh won’t let the Israelites leave Egypt. God, then holds Pharaoh responsible for his stubbornness and punishes him and all of Egypt as well. From a human perspective something seems wrong with the picture, but I still believe God is righteous – always doing what is right. In fact, God defines the meaning of what is “right.” He sees the big picture. I cannot. He understands completely. I do not. He is God. I am not.

Perhaps, you – like me – are making a list of things that you don’t understand, filing them away so you can ask God about them when you stand before Him one day. I don’t think God has a problem with this! When you encounter frustrations about life – and you find things you don’t understand – share them with God. He’s big enough to handle them. Then, resolve to believe that God, who is righteous, will always do the right thing. Live by faith, not by sight.

For more resources on handling tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings with your kids, click here.

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1. If you could ask God any one question and know that you would get an answer, what would your question be? Pray, asking God to grant you wisdom and patience as you wrestle with the answer to this question. 

2. With so much tragedy and injustice in the world, why do you keep believing in God? Thank Him for the living and active gift of faith in your life.


Isaiah 55:8-9; Exodus 7; Romans 9:14-24

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