“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will likewise perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5)
A peaceful September sky carried USAir Flight 427 from Chicago to Pittsburgh on its way to West Palm Beach, Florida. There were one hundred and thirty-two souls on board. They came from various places and backgrounds. Each had a destination. They had plans for the present and dreams for the future. Somebody loved them, and they loved somebody. The aircraft rolled and plunged into a hillside. That peaceful September sky witnessed another tragic demonstration of life’s vaporous fragility. All those plans and dreams perished in a brief moment.
It happened within a few terrifying seconds on an October morning. A school bus forced to stop at a red light was not sitting clear of the railroad tracks. Noisy teenagers helped to drown out the oncoming train’s pleading whistle. A horrific collision occurred, and several students were injured and five killed. At the scene of the accident, a nurse rushed to assist the victims. Later, she choked back frustrated tears and attempted to comfort the parents of a boy named, Jeff. “He did everything I told him to, but he just couldn’t breathe. He didn’t die alone. I held him in my arms.”
Just before noon on an April day, darkness moved into a Colorado high school. With little warning, guns, and homemade bombs flung destruction in every direction. Two figures in black trench coats moved quickly with deadly intent. Innocence screamed in agony. Evil laughed, savoring the murderous rampage. Then like a dog chasing its tail, evil turned on its agents and devoured them as well. Broken bodies, broken hearts, and broken lives were all that remained.
They were folks just like you and me. It was another Tuesday morning in another September in another year on the calendar. And those folks just like you and I went to work. Suddenly, they were thrust into sheer unimaginable terror. What went through their minds? How did those in the towers feel as they made the choice between certain death by fire or by leaping into that pristine blue sky? The horror of that ‘just another day’ for those folks, just like you and me, will surely haunt all of us till the day we die.
Why? Why do planes fall from the sky? Why do children die in our arms? Why do innocent people get murdered? Why do ordinary folks get killed and maimed by terrorists?
Well, Flight 427 had a rudder problem; perhaps it was poorly designed by someone. Somebody else apparently didn’t anticipate traffic backing up at a red light and causing a bus to sit on railroad tracks, or the bus driver missed the danger. A couple of spiritually destitute kids, depressed and angry, and seemingly unsupervised decided to get even for perceived abuses at school. Some religious fanatics wanting to rid the Holy Land of “Zionists and Infidels” believed blowing up a bunch of people in business suits would do the trick or something to that effect.
How’s that for answers? Are you satisfied with my observations? Maybe you might want to ask other people a whole lot smarter and more insightful than me. I can tell you this – God isn’t going to tell you why. He didn’t tell Job why. Jesus didn’t tell His audience why Pilate butchered those particular folks or why the tower happened to fall on those eighteen individuals.
The fact is He has already told us the whys. He has already said as soon as the doctor smacks our fanny and we take our first breath, we’re heading on the way to our last. He has clearly made it known we’re fallen sin-filled creatures living in a fallen sin-filled world. He has also assured us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, just as the sun shines on the same, and harm and death play no favorites. And He has certainly clued us in on our Adversary without and that insidious enemy within. There are the whys.
God is interested in “the what” and we need to be as well. What are we going to do about that last breath we’re destined to take? What are we going to do about being sin-filled creatures that want to run our lives? What are we going to do about living in a world system that is at enmity with Him? What are we going to do about all the deception from without and within us?
Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Allow His death, burial, and resurrection to remove our sin and reconcile us to our Father. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Allow Him to breathe the breath of life into us and it will not matter why, when, where or how we take our last respiration. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Allow Him to live His life in us and through us and reach out to the world that is indeed dying. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Allow Him to grow us up and teach us so thoroughly about His nature and His will that we’ll no longer fall victim to deception.
Why? No – what? Not why.