I hear the stories.  I see their faces. I look at my own kids, hold them, imagine what could happen to them at any moment.  Life snuffed out before it ever really began. I’m spending a Saturday Family Day with my kids; what did those families have planned with their kids today? All I wanna do is cry.

Where is the joy? How do you be happy (really happy) in the midst of so much heartache? Newton, Sandy, movie theater massacre, Libya, Jessica Ridgeway… God, how are you filled with joy when you know in advance of these things? This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. Without something more behind it, this sounds like an empty platitude.

I know why God lets bad things happen. I’ve even blogged on it: https://kellytshibaka.com/2007/11/06/where-did-evil-come-from. But it doesn’t change that my heart seems hopelessly despaired when confronted with these evils.

In this world you will have troubles; but take heart, for I have overcome the world. The truth is that given the fallen (sin-ridden) nature of mankind and the world, tragedy should actually be the norm. Every moment we have of goodness, gratitude, blessing is essentially a miracle. It is the taste of redemption in a world that already has gone to hell in a hand basket. The Bible makes clear that Satan is the ruler of this world — for now, it’s his. I guess it’s equally valid to wonder why good happens as it is to wonder why evil does…

The only reason every day isn’t marked with death and despair is because of God’s love and redeeming power. He was grieved over our plight even more than we were…so much so that He sent His only son, Jesus, to pay the price and take our plight away.

For those who put their faith in Him, we can live in some of our ransomed freedom now. But we are like missionaries here on earth, or behind enemy lines, if you will. This world belongs to Satan. It only takes flipping on the tv right now to see that. We won’t get to experience the fullness of His redemptive plan until this world passes and we enter eternity. So until then, we will have trouble.

In the meantime, I want to focus on being a force for His redemptive power. To love, serve and help people amidst tragedy, crisis, and brokenheartedness. Because the truth is, this is as close to hell as I’m gonna get. And by God’s grace, may it be as close to hell as any of us get.