When bad things happen.

There’s a line from the Stavesacre song “Why Good People Suffer,” that says, “I couldn’t tell you why good people suffer/ I couldn’t tell you why the bad ones run free/God showers blessings on the righteous and wicked/All I know is that covers me.” I think it’s a great line because it exposes just how nonsensical the world of blessings and curses can seem. We can’t understand why some people go through horrendous circumstances when it doesn’t seem deserved and why the most despicable seem to be the ones with the most going for them. I’ve been thinking more about this issue in light of the fires that continue to light up and burn across Colorado.

Tony Jones and (others) wonder why John Piper (and others) hasn’t piped up (pun intended) regarding not only the fires but the destructive rain in Minnesota. However, I think what’s at the heart of Piper’s usual statements regarding why “bad things happen” is the need in humanity for an explanation. It hasn’t even been a week and already there are bogus Craig’s List posts going up trying to pin the recent Waldo Canyon fire on an arsonist. The supposed starting for the fire is literally still burning. There is no way to know how it started yet. Still, we all want an explanation. We all want to know why bad things happen, why good things happen to bad people, good things happen to good people and bad to bad people. Unfortunately, there is no truly satisfactory answer to this question.

I think this is part of why there is such a proliferation in conspiracy theories lately. I’m no fan of conspiracy theories, I tend to believe there is always a rational explanation, even if it seems nonsensical. However, I think it gives many comfort to think that there is an explanation. Not only this, but an explanation that is grand. Terrorists that have a different ideological worldview and want to attack a symbol of power? That’s not grand enough. The government planning a total takeover by murdering their own citizens that has deep historical roots in a secret society? Now that’s an explanation! Unfortunately, the reality is far less “sexy” than the conspiracy and in the case of why bad things happen, like wildfires, sometimes all you have to say is, “it just happens.”

I know there is little comfort in this scenario and I’d love to give a reason why. But, aside from citing all the factors that lead to this, I don’t think there is a “reason” why this happened. Just like I think Piper and others are usually wrong when they try to pen a big “reason” to why something happens. There are factors, but no conspiracy. However, there is something that is good about these fires. From the ashes, the forests will re-grow. And, in times of trouble, we have the opportunity to not give fanciful explanations for why things happen, but to come alongside those affected and provide them a loving and helping hand. This I believe is the greatest comfort and care anyone can ever get in these times.


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