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When tragedy strikes the Christian

“Where was your God when you needed him?” We live in a broken world, and those who put their trust in God are not exempt from that brokenness. Cancer strikes, accidents happen, depression lurks, tragedy falls on the believer as much as the unbeliever. And to some this seems as good a reason for rejecting God as any. If he won’t look after his own people, why believe?

As a pastor this is a question I face and will continue to face as long as I am in this broken world. I will have to look into the eyes of hurting Christians who seek both answers for themselves, and for those who question them.

And part of the answer isn’t very satisfying—simply “I don’t know.” I don’t know the specific reasons why God allows some tragedy to happen. But that lack of knowledge leads to a more powerful answer.

In life there are situations where, when we look back with hindsight, we see how great good came out of immense difficulty. There are other situations where we know enough at the time to know that it is worth it.

But tragedy doesn’t come with either hindsight, or with insight. What is the Christian to do when they have neither hindsight nor insight? God takes us to the bleakest, most tragic, inexplicable day in human history; one, that had we been there, we would have been like the disciples—beyond distraught. He takes us to the crucifixion. And in scripture God gives us the benefit of his perfect explanation, he gives us insight—and we see how it was for good. And then God gives us the benefit of 2000 years of hindsight—and we see how it has brought forgiveness, transformation, hope and salvation to millions of people.

And so when tragedy comes to the Christian, God says, “Trust me, the day will come when you will have both insight and hindsight into this situation, and you will see its purpose, and you will marvel.” But why should we trust him? At the cross we see that before he asks us to trust him with something monumental, he steps forward, and takes tragedy on himself. He doesn’t ask us to trust him where he has not yet been. And there he shows us, at his cost, that he will the tragic into something glorious.

And so the Christian fixes their eyes on the Cross and says, “I know that He transforms bleak tragedy and I will wait in trust for his explanation, for his trustworthiness is written here in his own blood”.

The Christian doesn’t base their love for God on his, as yet, unexplained dealings with them, but on his explained dealings with his Son for them.

Mark Loughridge is the minister of Milford Reformed Presbyterian Church. He can be contacted on 074 9123961 or You can read more or listen online at