George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. This much we know. But why did it happen? In a recent interview, Zimmerman says he believes this has all been part of God's will.
John Piper, it seems, would agree. He says, "Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die."
So, what about the tragic events in Aurora, CO? Was it God's will for an armed man to burst into a movie theatre, open fire and kill a dozen people?
Christians believe God could have intervened, but he did not. Perhaps it was his will, after all. But that doesn't seem right. It's certainly not satisfying. What kind of God would have that kind of event included in the list of things he wants to have happen? Is it even right to ask these kinds of questions? He's the Potter, and we're the clay. Who are we to question him?
We all live with unanswered (and sometimes unasked) questions. All of us -- healthy and sick, rich and poor, young and old wonder: Why must life be like this? Why do such things happen?
Someone has to say this out loud: Life is a messy puzzle that doesn't always make sense, and disturbing questions far outnumber absolute, airtight answers.
Frankly, I am disturbed at how glibly some Christians toss around phrases like, "Everything happens for a reason" or "God won't give you more than you can handle" or "This must be God's will for you."
It seems easier to figure out God's will for someone else than for my own life. At times, though, it can feel cruel to receive those words from someone standing at a safe distance.
So, let's be careful -- as in, "full of care" -- with our words this weekend. To quote Bono, many of us might want to "stop helping God across the street like a little old lady". Let's remember that someone once said getting an education is mostly becoming aware of our own ignorance.
Few people in the history of the world could say with anything remotely resembling certainty that they knew and understood the will of God. He is confusing, baffling. He is, without a doubt, the most frustrating person I have ever met in my life. Just when you think you've got him figured out, he takes a hard left, leaving you stuck in traffic, wondering where in the world he's gone off to now.
I like routine. I am a bit of a control freak. But the closer I come in my walk with God, the less control I have over my own life, and the more I find myself having to let go and abandon to him. Honestly, I don't like that, which is why my walk with God is so inconsistent.
I come close. I look at what is in my hands that I must relinquish. I balk. I lose sight of him. I go off on a mad dash to find him again.
Later. Rinse. Repeat.
Why did this happen? Why does that happen so often? Why tragedy? Why heartache? Why loss? Why? Why? Why?
The uncomfortable but honest truth is: I don't know.
There is much I do not know. God's will is a puzzle none of us will ever solve in this lifetime. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something.
But we are called to trust that God is in complete control, and he has nothing but our best interests at heart.