A California State University, Fresno, professor will not be punished for calling Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheering her death.
The university’s president condemned Randa Jarrar’s statements as “insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the university.” However, he stated that she was acting as a private citizen using her personal Twitter account, so her statements didn’t violate school policies.
In other California news, a former police officer has been identified as the so-called “Golden State Killer.” He is believed to have committed twelve killings and at least fifty rapes across California from 1976 to 1986.
Closer to home, Dallas police officer Rogelio Santander died yesterday. He was one of three victims of a gunman who was caught shoplifting at a Home Depot in our area.
His tragic death reminds us that our police officers are on the front lines every day, willing to die so we can live. They deserve our intercession and encouragement today.
And the husband of the woman killed last week on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 has now spoken to reporters. When Michael Riordan learned that his wife had died, “I immediately thought of the kids and how do you tell your kids their mom was gone.”
A very hard question
When criminals rape, steal, and murder, it’s hard to believe that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. When professors use their public platform to make ungodly statements, we wonder where God is.
The first three stories in today’s Daily Article can be viewed in the context of misused human freedom. God chooses to honor the free will he gave us. If he removed the consequences of misused freedom, we would not truly be free.
And yet, sometimes he does just that.
After Herod arrested Peter, God sent an angel who liberated the apostle (Acts 12:1–10). The Lord protected the Jews from Pharaoh (Exodus 14). He saved Daniel from the lions’ den (Daniel 6) and his friends from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3).
Why, then, did he not protect victims of the “Golden State Killer” or those shot at Home Depot? Why has he not acted in response to the professor’s abhorrent statements?
The fourth story of the day is even harder to understand. Unless the disaster on Flight 1380 was caused by faulty maintenance, it was not the result of misused freedom. The God who acted miraculously throughout Scripture could presumably have spared Jennifer Riordan’s life, but he did not.
Facts to remember
When tragedy strikes, let’s remember six facts:
God still knows us. He knew the names of Moses and Paul before they knew his name (Exodus 3:4, 13; Acts 26:14–15). He knows what we need before we ask him (Matthew 6:8).
God still loves us. His Son died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Because “God is love” (1 John 4:8), nothing about this week’s news changes who he was last week or who he will be next week.
God is still omnipotent. The prophet rightly testified to God: “It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
God suffers as we suffer. He watched as his Son was tortured and crucified. His Son wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35). Nothing can come to us without coming through him (John 10:28–29).
God works in ways we cannot see or understand. The Lord reminds us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). If I do not understand my Father’s actions, the fault is not with his divine character but with my human finitude.
God redeems all he allows. This is a statement I often make in response to tragedy, one that readers sometimes ask me to explain. Here’s the short version:
Because God is sovereign, he must allow all that happens. Because he is perfect, he can never make a mistake. However, God makes a mistake if he allows any suffering he does not redeem for an even greater good. Therefore, he must redeem for greater good all he allows.
We may not see or understand such redemption on this side of heaven, but we will one day (1 Corinthians 13:12). I don’t have to understand how a car works to drive it. I don’t have to understand God’s redemption to trust it.
Our God is named Immanuel
I don’t know why God allowed the tragedies we’ve discussed. But I know that nothing in today’s news changes his all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful nature. So, I trust the suffering that grieves me to the God who loves me.
Let’s close by remembering that our Savior is named Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Alexander MacLaren was right: Jesus is “bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us.”
What grief would you trust to him today?