There was a tragic car accident in our area few days ago. It wasn’t all that unusual. These things happen on a regular basis especially in large urban areas.
But, it was on the news probably because it involved a dangerous stretch of road where accidents had occurred before and in this case a young woman died.
The news people went to the scene where they found the young woman’s understandably distraught uncle. The little lead in to speaking with the uncle mentioned the fact the uncle blamed God for the accident and indeed he did.
I can empathize with the uncle’s grief. Having someone precious ripped from you in a tragic car accident has to cut any feeling person to the core. The uncle’s emotional response was understandable just as it was sad.
Volumes have been written by theologians, pastors, lay people and even critics of Christianity about God’s involvement with his creation and accidents and tragedies.
An atheist of course doesn’t believe God is involved at all because an atheist by definition does not believe in God’s existence. An agnostic like I used to be would simply shrug their shoulders and say something like “who knows?”
Deists would believe that God created it all but then stepped back and just let the creation go unattended.
People claiming Christianity in one its myriad forms would all have a different opinion as to how much or how little God was involved in something so common as a car accident.
I do not know the uncle who lost his niece. The one minute he had to speak on the news was not long enough to learn anything about him or what else he may have thought about God. I do know that given his blame God comment he knew enough that God was at least a secondary cause of the tragedy. The primary cause could have been any number of things like going too fast for conditions, texting while driving, a dangerous road or whatever.
Whatever the primary cause of the accident was the uncle recognized that God could have prevented the accident. The uncle appeared to be bitter that he did not. He mentioned something along the lines of his niece not deserving her fate.
The episode filled me with sadness. It is tragic that a young life was sniffed out. I can empathize with the uncle’s pain. What is equally tragic in my opinion was the uncle’s interpretation of the event and his resulting bitterness.
I have no idea what his faith background was or is or even if he has a pastor or priest. I just know that his interpretation of the event does not line up with what Scripture teaches about God, man, sin or death.
The Scripture that came to my mind as I pondered the news story was this one:
When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38 ESV)
Jesus felt compassion for the people because they were like sheep with a shepherd. They had religion but they did not have truth. The people’s religious leaders had much wrong about God, about man, about sin, about death and most of all wrong about how God would make things right. Jesus’ compassion for the people leads him to say that many of the people can be brought to the truth, but not many “harvesters”are available. He adds that his disciples should pray for more laborers.
My prayer is Lord of the harvest might minister to a bitter uncle’s heart and open the eyes of his heart to the truth of Scripture. God does care. It is why he sent his Son to die in our place.