What Tragedy Reveals About Humanity
Yesterday we were horrified to learn about another tragedy, this time in Boston—explosions, fear, injuries, and deaths.
When things like this happen, we ask ourselves questions that we already know the answers to. Why? (Because the world is fallen.) When will we stop doing this to each other? (When the Lord returns to set the world to rights.) Why can’t we stop this? (Because evil is pervasive, and hearts must be transformed.)
Of course, knowing the answers doesn’t make dealing with the realities easy. There is still pain, doubt, and fear. This is life between Eden, when the world was unstained by sin, and the New Jerusalem, where God will right every wrong.
As I looked over my Facebook friends’ reactions to this tragedy, I came across a quote, claiming to be from Mr. Rogers (it seemed legitimate, it was written on a photo of him…):
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Whether this quote is authentically Rogersian or not, it reminds us of two important things—again, things we already know:
- This world is full of evil, and human beings often labor for evil rather than good.
- Human beings still bear God’s image (even after the fall, see James 3:9), and often labor for healing and restoration rather than destruction.
Whenever we see a tragedy, then, we are reminded of the wrestle taking place in every inch of creation:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:20–24)
Though we cannot do anything to reverse such tragedies, we can continue to labor as those who bring healing, hope, and peace. We still sense God’s goodness and possess an impulse toward compassion. We can be the helpers in every area of life.
Last night, as I sang with my daughter the song she always requests we sing, I was struck by the appropriateness of the lyrics:
“This is my Father’s world,
O may I ne’er forget
That though the wrong
Seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet.”