Oklahoma: What we know and don’t know

Here we are again. It’s probably because of our limited, time-bound perspective—when everything happening right now is more tragic, more significant, more everything—but it seems like we’re wrestling with more tragedies than we have in a long time. Maybe it also has something to do with the ubiquity of social networking and always-on, everywhere-you-go live footage. The world is shrinking.

None of that matters to the people in Oklahoma who are hurting right now, of course. Their pain is real and raw and intense. We can pontificate all we want about the frequency of and reason for disasters, but what they care about is the loved one who’s gone, the lives that are forever changed.

Christians are quick to respond when things like this happen. Rarely, but occasionally, a few add to the pain by minimizing it, or sometimes even implying that the tragedy has come because of God’s anger . . . that he’s punishing sinners because of specific things they’ve done.

More often, though, Christians show the love of Jesus to hurting people. They give millions of dollars, truckloads of resources, countless hours of service. As you read this, trucks from distant points are rolling down long, flat interstates to bring supplies to desperate families.

They may not know what they should say, but they know what they can do.

I see this, and it makes me thankful to be part of God’s family. You may have seen some headlines yesterday about evangelical leaders who made insensitive comments about why God allowed this deadly tornado to be spawned.

If there’s ever a time for that kind of speculation, I’m pretty sure this isn’t it. It seems to me that we ought to focus instead on what we know: hurting communities need to see the love of Jesus in the lives of his people.

And they do. They see love in the tears of a group of Christians from three hundred miles away who’ve come to unload boxes and pick up debris. They see compassion in the hands of believers who give up their vacation time to put on their overalls and get to work. They see love in the dimes, quarters, and crumpled-up one-dollar bills that children will cram into envelopes and send to relief agencies today.

Now’s not the time to try to explain why it happened, and perhaps we’ll never know. Now’s the time to act on what we know: God hates the brokenness of this world, and he sacrificed his Son to save it, and us. Today—and every day between now and the new heaven and earth—we have an opportunity to show the world a tiny glimpse of the love that ultimate sacrifice has created in us. We have an opportunity to help the world get a closer look at Jesus.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

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