Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Heavy Heart

This Monday there was a horrible accident in San Diego. With failing engines, a pilot was attempting to land his F-18 at Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. The pilot had to eject in the last few seconds as the second engine failed. The plane ended up crashing into a residential neighborhood killing four people-mother, daughter, and two grand-daughters. At some point, the father Mr. Yoon received word that his mother-in-law, wife, and daughters were gone. Horrible.

My hearts and prayers are with Mr. Yoon. I am thankful for his forgiveness to the pilot (who, no doubt, is suffering with the guilt of this accident).

Suffering always brings about the profound, impossible to answer, theological question: "Why?" Which is often followed up with this question: "How can a good God allow this to happen?" These are important questions, which I will not answer fully in this post.

In the Bible there is a story about a man Job who lost everything. His immediate response was, "Naked I cam from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). There is profound insight in this response. In fact, this passage has brought me great comfort through many difficulties-particularly the miscarriage of our child a few years back.

Some things I try to keep in mind in the midst of these tragedies:
  1. Sin and the consequences of sin are real. Therefore, we experience the wrath of sin in many ways.
  2. God is good, faithful, sovereign, etc. Therefore, we can trust that nothing slipped by God. He is working behind the scenes and we can trust that He is working in the midst of the pain. We are told in Romans that all things work together for good for those who love Him.
  3. This life is but a vapor, eternity is forever. We often measure things from cradle to grave, not in light of eternity.
This is really a shoddy exposition on suffering. In the midst of meditating on this great tragedy, Horatio Spafford's story has come to mind. Okay, for those of you who don't know this name, let me share about his story in brief. Here is a brief sketch:
  1. Only son died.
  2. Lost everything in the Great Chicago fire.
  3. Family vacation to Europe (Family left first, then he was going to catch up). Boat sinks all four daughters die. Wife sends telegram, "Saved alone."
  4. He departs immediately to be with his wife.
  5. Sailing over the tragic spot he wrote, "It is Well with My Soul"
The words in this hymn are powerful...especially in light of the story:

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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