June 12, 2016. A date that hangs heavy in my heart. It was a day that was defined by hatred; a day where a single gunman went into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and murdered 49 men and women and injured at least 53. After hearing this news that morning, my heart sank. How could someone do this? How did our country get to this level of hatred? Why would God allow such a horrible tragedy to afflict our nation? These were just a few of the questions that dominated my thoughts as I wrestled for answers.
Fast forward to November 28, 2016. At 9:52 that morning, A man drove his car into a group of people on the campus of Ohio State University and then jumped out of the car, wielding a knife. He began to chase students with the knife, sending 11 innocent people to the hospital and striking fear into the hearts of all on that campus. My heart dropped once again with pain for those afflicted by this act of violence. And once again, the questions of how and why grew so strong.
These events, among others, often have a way of raising these questions. Anytime a group of innocent people is attacked, or an unarmed man is shot and killed at the hands of the police, or when a parent loses a child to suicide, we respond by asking a simple “why”. Why would a good and loving God allow such hatred to cause so much harm to so many innocent people? Often times, we find ourselves landing at the conclusion that there cannot possibly be a God; or at the very least if there is a God, he doesn’t care one bit about us.
But the story never stops at the pain. In the weeks following the horrific shooting of the Pulse nightclub, we saw the community of Orlando gather together. Soon we began to see the whole country standing with Orlando through this tragedy. Slowly, though scarred and beaten, the country was able to lift itself up again through love. We strive to see love prevail over hate. We long for rest in our suffering. We deeply desire to see the good when the world shows us evil. God has placed this desire in each and every one of us. Through his love, he taught us how to love each other. Through his acts, he brought us comfort when we felt nothing but pain. And through his goodness, he taught us to see good even when the evil seems so strong.