Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapses...

As most of you have probably heard by now a major bridge collapsed in Minneapolis on Wednesday August 1. As of right now there are at least six reported deaths and numerous injuries. The bridge was a part of Interstate 35W. Before moving to Phoenix last fall I lived in Minneapolis for three years. In fact every day I drove over the bridge on my commute out of the city. I still have numerous friends that live in Minneapolis and my heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and those who were injured.

How should we think about an awful event like this? Is it a fluke? Is it due to an engineering mistake? Is it a demonic attack? Why were these six people killed? Were they Christians whom the Lord was taking home as an act of mercy? Were they back-slidden believers who were being judged by God? Were they unbelievers who were experiencing God's righteous judgment? Or were those who suffered injury and the loss of their lives made up of a combination of all of the above? There are many questions that will probably never be answered in this life. However, the following six things are at least some of the truths that we should remember when events like this happen so that we are thinking rightly about God and our response:

1. God is absolutely sovereign over all things including collapsing bridges:
Psalm 135:6
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,in heaven and on earth,in the seas and all deeps.
Psalm 115:3
Our God is in the heavens;he does all that he pleases.
Proverbs 16:33 (God is sovereign even over things that seem random)
The lot is cast into the lap,but its every decision is from the Lord.
Genesis 50:20 (God is sovereign over the evil decisions of man)
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Jonah 1:15 (God is sovereign over people and objects thrown into the water)
So they [the sailors] picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
Jonah 2:3
For you [God] cast me into the deep,into the heart of the seas,and the flood surrounded me;all your waves and your billows passed over me.
Acts 4:27-28 (God is sovereign over the most evil event(s) in history)
For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
2. God is good and uses all things to accomplish His plans and to bless His people
Genesis 50:20
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalm 100:5
For the Lord is good;his steadfast love endures forever,and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord!Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,for his steadfast love endures forever!
Luke 18:19
"...No one is good except God alone."
3. God Himself does not do evil nor is He tempted by evil
James 1:13
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
4. When an event like this happens we should not pontificate about it in a merely theoretical way. Nor should we think that those who suffered the loss of their lives or other bodily harm are worse sinners than others. In addition to this we should hear the words of Jesus loud and clear in our own lives that we ourselves must repent. In other words, when we see an event like this it gives us an opportunity to evaluate our own lives and turn from all that is evil and dishonoring to God. It gives us a picture of the coming judgment and should stir our hearts to be right with God.
Luke 13:1-5
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
5. We should weep with those who weep
Romans 12:15
"...weep with those who weep."
6. We should hold out Christ to those around us as the only real hope and comfort in life and death
1 Thessalonians 4:3
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but should provide a helpful starting point for thinking through this horrific event in a God-centered way. May Christ himself bring great comfort to those who have lost family members and those who have been injured.

For another response see this helpful article by John Piper.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this reflection on this tragedy. It is always good to be reminded of the fact that God is in control and is good.

Mike Jenkins