It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post in the wake of the Manchester bombing. My prayers and deepest sympathies go out to those affected by this atrocious act of terrorism. These are the moments that make me want to thrust my hands in the air and scream, “Why?”

Why indeed? Isn’t an act like this proof against the existence of God? After all, if there is a good and loving God, how could He possibly let this happen?

C.S. Lewis has this to say on the subject:

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”[1]

The fact of the matter is, we live in a fallen world of suffering and death as a consequence of sin.[2] However, as a Christian, I know that God is sovereign and His plan is perfect: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Even if we may not see or understand what good could possibly come out of a given situation, God sees the bigger picture and is working in the midst of our pain. Joseph understood this when he confronted his brothers that had sold him into slavery: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…”(Genesis 50:20 NLT).

As God weaves back together the frazzled threads in His external masterpiece, He is simultaneously knocking at the door of our hearts to incite internal growth as well: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3). (While this verse is important and true, however, I see this more as a spiritual maturation goal – an attitude to drop your anchor in before the storm, not a source of comfort during times of distress).

Ultimately, the best comfort I find, is the promise made to those who have accepted the forgiving grace of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Revelations 21:4 NKJV).

Whether you are mourning in Manchester or you are dealing with your own heart shattering pain, I invite you to join me in clinging to the words of Jesus: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV).

 

-Nicolas C. Day

 

[1] C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

[2] Romans 5:12

 

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4 thoughts on “Prayers for Manchester 

  1. Some very heartfelt and astute observations. And as I attend a special Ascension Day Service tomorrow (being recorded by the BBC for broadcast) … I wonder whether I will be seeing soldiers in Trafalgar Square and at the station.

    Like

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