Where is God in Times of Tragedy?
God's Grace Is Sufficient
Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, President, Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church
In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul lists difficulties he has had to endure in this lifetime. Referring to them as “insults, hardships, and calamities,” Paul tells the readers that he had often asked that God remove them and, one can only assume, not let them happen again. God’s revelation has become the hallmark of our own response to the many misfortunes and heartaches we confront. “My grace is sufficient for you.”
The twenty-first century has opened with a seemingly never-ending series of tragic events. Some are part of the created and natural order of things. Others are the result of what humanity opts to do to the good creation and to the inhabitants of this globe. The violence, suspicion, hatred, and greed that are so visible bring on events of tragic proportions.
The response of the believer is once again to hear and to trust that word revealed so long ago: God’s grace is sufficient. It does not protect us or offer us immunity from tragedy, but it does sustain with hope and healing. God’s grace remains steady, to hold us and to empower us to work for justice and act with compassion with and among those who face tragic circumstances and events.