C.S. Lewis, Joni Eareckson Tada, Philip Yancey and others asked “Where is God when it hurts?” those living in Vilonia are asking the same day just three days and three years after enduring another episode of tornadic destruction in 2011. The discussion usually includes thinking, “If God is so good, why does He allow innocent people to die and lives to be broken?” Who wants to listen to a preacher talk about the goodness of God and His plans for everyone when they are surrounded not only by physical destruction but rampant greed and injustice?
“Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light.” God created a perfect world, not a tragic one. Dark desires in the hearts of men and women create the space for ugly tragic occurrences God never wanted. All God wants is to love and be loved by every person. The possibility of pain is a necessary corollary. Love is a choice or it is not real love. God could control every action by every person, but such control would eliminate their freedom to choose a relationship with Him, or reject it. Control corrodes love.
April Smith lost her two sons to the Vilonia tornado. They perished in the ruble of the dream house they moved into only hours earlier. She is in constant pain from her own injuries—but this grieving mom told friend Jessica Sowards that she hasn’t lost her faith. Before the twister hit, her son Tyler told her he was ready for heaven. “I can’t imagine going through that and wanting to live,” Sowards said.
“I have peace,” Jessica reports on her blog. “I know I have more pain to go through that I probably can understand. But I have supernatural peace. I don’t know what God has for me and my husband that our boys couldn’t be here for, but I do know that He is good. His plan is good….Show them my picture,” April instructed Sowards. “Show them what my God can overcome.”
That is a genuine act of God. A heart made strong by a deep relationship with a loving God. This is a God who promises to walk with us “through the valley of the shadow of death, wipe every tear from their eyes”, and eliminate pain.