Over 1 Million Views. My 3 Reflections.
If you would have told me that over a million people would read my article titled "God Didn't Need Kobe and Gigi in Heaven", I would have said you were crazy.
The response is so very telling of how desperate our world is to find answers in the midst of tragedy. My prayer is that my article brought peace to the hurting by hearing that God is so very near to us in our suffering and promises to provide comfort in the midst of it all.
Here are just 3 reflections I have following this viral post...
Reflection # 1
There are still people in the world that can respectfully express differing opinions! I received messages from people who had different opinions about God and tragedy but were kind, encouraging, and respectful. They even engaged in helpful dialogue when I invited them to think deeper about their ideas. So friends, take heart! Sensible people still exist! (I received a few unhelpful responses as well but they were far fewer!)
Reflection # 2
A lot of people asked me to provide my thoughts on the book of Job. My suggestion is to look up "The Bible Project" podcast and listen to their 3 part series on the book of Job. It was through this podcast that I grew a deeper understanding of what the book is trying to teach. I wouldn't do it justice by trying to summarize it here. For those that aren't familiar with Job, it's a story in the Bible about a man that loses everything and God allows it all to take place. It's a tough story to read so I highly recommend that you only read it if you are willing to dive deeper by listening to the podcast.
Reflection # 3
The intention of my article was not to strike up a debate among believers about God's sovereignty. The last thing this world needs is to watch more debates among believers. My article was about taking a pastoral approach when engaging with people in the midst of suffering. If you find comfort in the phrases I suggested were not helpful, then by all means use them for yourself. But I would still recommend that you refrain from using them with others. A lot of the messages I received were from people who found themselves in the midst of a tragedy, when a well meaning Christian made a cliche remark that ultimately led them farther away from God. Just be present with people in their hurt. Offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Bring them dinner or offer to watch their children. Remind them that God loves them and sweep their floors. Just. Be. Present.
Friends, at the end of the day, it's about being the hands and feet of Jesus. Pray for those in pain, offer to meet the practical needs of those suffering, and reassure those in the wake of tragedy that God loves them more than they can ever imagine.