With our doctrinal understandings secure, we can now do the fun part of theology; apply it. This space will hopefully become an area where issues of the day can be dealt with; Biblically.
This week, let’s apply our theological understanding to the idea of tragedy.
Let’s get our basics out-of-the-way and use what we know of God and the world to frame our understandings; then we can put that knowledge to use (application, the stuff after the bold text).
We know from the doctrine of God that God rules and reigns over a universe that He created. We know from our understanding of omnipotence that God is all-powerful and cannot be overcome. We also know from our understanding of the doctrine of man that people are fallen and sinful (by nature) unless redeemed by Christ (Christology). But we also know from the doctrine of sanctification that the removal of sin from our lives is a lifelong process that will never be completed before we stand in the presence of God (glorification).
It is the reality of sin in the world that leads to: death (individual penalty of sin), calamity (universal consequence of sin), and hardship (individual & corporate consequence of sin). It is the intersection of these realities, sin and a sovereign/ruling God that undergirds our reaction to the tragic occurrences of the world.
So what?!?? You said this stuff was going to be important to my life!!!!!
School shootings, disease, broken relationships, natural disasters, etc., etc., and etc. How as a Christian do I respond to these things? We respond with a love and understanding that surpasses all comprehension (Ephesians 3:14 – 19). Is God judging an unbeliever with an illness; maybe He is. Is God condemning an entire region with a storm; maybe He is. Is God pruning me with this difficulty; maybe He is. The other side is that in all of these things; maybe He is not. We like to think that everything in the universe is about us and how we should handle it and react to it. Well, it is not; instead: everything in the universe is about God and how we should react to Him.
The prime distinction of the world is between believer and non-believer. That distinction covers every reaction we have. If tragedy has befallen the non-believer it is a warning of the wrath to come against sin and a “shaking” by God so that they may recognize their sin and repent and trust in Christ. If tragedy befalls the believer, we know we are secure in Christ; therefore our sin is already dealt with eternally. However, God maybe pruning sin from your life; He may also be using the natural flow of hardship and death to bring into your sphere those to whom you (yes, YOU) may minister to.
The great summation is this: nothing in this world is overpowering God or occurring outside of His line of vision. Therefore in every situation (no matter how glum it may be) there is opportunity to worship and honor God. Christian, that is what you seek to do when tragedy strikes. How do you do that? Depends on: the tragedy, who you are, and what God is doing; but I know He has not forsaken this world (Christology again), so we are able to do what He has called us to do.