Where Was God?
BreakPoint with Charles Colson
Commentary #010918 - 9/18/2001
Where Was God?: Reflections on God's Goodness and Terrorism
This weekend I received a call from a Christian
friend who was deeply troubled. The husband of a
woman to whom she had been witnessing had been killed
in the World Trade Center attack. The woman called my
friend and demanded bitterly: "Where was your God
that you've been telling me about this week?"
Everywhere, people are raising the same question: How
could a good God have allowed such massive evil? No
question poses a greater stumbling block to Christian
faith; no question is more difficult for Christians
to answer. Yet, the biblical worldview does give us a
The simple answer to why bad things happen to so-
called good people is that God loved us so much that
he made us free moral agents in his image. He
designed creatures with the ability to make choices,
to choose either good or evil. The original humans,
Adam and Eve, exercised that choice -- and chose to
disobey God. In doing so, they rejected God's good,
thus creating sin and opening the door to death and
What happened last week was raw, naked evil --
committed by men who made evil choices. But it was
something else as well: It was merely a consequence
of the fact that there is sin in the world. God could
erase the consequences of sin immediately. But then
we'd no longer be free moral agents; we would be
robots. For without consequences, there is no real
choice. God cannot simultaneously offer us free
choice and then compel one choice over another --
which is what would happen if he stopped all evil.
Jesus himself was asked why bad things happen to good
people. In Luke 13, we read that people asked him if
the Galileans who were killed while worshipping at
the altar were worse sinners than anyone else. "No,"
Jesus answered. And then he added, "Unless you repent
you will all likewise perish." Jesus then reinforced
his point. Recently, a tower in a nearby city had
fallen; eighteen people had been crushed to death.
Jesus said, "Do you think that they were worse
offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?
I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all
This is one of the hard sayings of Jesus, but there's
great truth in it. We are in no position to ask God
why terrible things happen. We're only to seek
What happened last week was one of worst tragedies in
American history. But God can bring good out of evil,
and he often works through adversity. Since the
terrorist attacks, we have seen the nation come
together with greater unity than I've witnessed since
Pearl Harbor. And this Sunday my church was filled to
capacity at all services -- very unusual in Florida
at this time of year. Churches all over the country
were packed out, and were in England as well. People
may be angry at God, but they're also asking
questions about the meaning of life and God's role in
it. You and I need to be prepared to answer the
questions of people in pain.
Where was God last week? He was with us -- just as he
always is. He gave us everything we need to cope with
this or any other evils: He gave us himself at the
cross at Calvary.
Copyright (c) 2001 Prison Fellowship Ministries