My Facebook newsfeed tells me that Mr. Rogers had this to say about tragedy:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.“
I don’t know if that quote is really his, but I believe the sentiment is true. So many of my non-Christian friends are crying out today – toward Your God, as they call him. Wanting to know why My God didn’t stop this. Wanting to know what kind of God allows this. There are passages that talk about the answers to those questions, but I don’t think that’s what my friends are looking for.
Unfortunately, what I want to tell them might even hurt them more. I want to tell them that God allows this out of love. Which sounds callous and cruel and would get me flagged off of Facebook in no time. But what good are acts of kindness if they are not acts of free will? God’s love for us allows us to make decisions about our actions. God’s love in us and through us brings us to a place of loving each other.
Free will is the means which God allows this to happen. He allows us to make choices about our actions. It’s a hot topic, and many Christians believe there is no free will, or that it is limited, and that good only comes from God, not from the individual. “I can do nothing but from God.” I don’t know about that. I believe we do make choices, and the spectrum of choices ranges from a shooting in an elementary school to risking your life protecting your students from a madman.
ABC reported that a first grade teacher barricaded her students into the bathroom. Would her actions have meant anything if she had no choice in them? Whether you believe God did this through her or that she did this herself, God allowed that course of action too.
When you choose to spend more time with your kids tonight than on Facebook, that act of love matters. It means something. When you choose to stay a little longer at bedtime, that act of love matters. When you choose to make a special breakfast tomorrow morning, that act of love matters. Your choices, to treasure your children, even if prompted by tragedy, matter. They matter and they mean something because God has loved you and given you the chance to make these choices.
I believe there is more good in the world. I believe more people are good, do good, and try to do good. I believe more people think about the good, and look for the good, and assume the good.
In the end, Love Wins. In the end, the greatest of all things is always Love.