Where is God in the Toronto Tragedy?
Posted by on April 24, 2018
This afternoon, a van ploughed into pedestrians at a well-known intersection in Toronto. There were injuries and loss of life. The driver’s intentions seemed calculated and deliberate.
What can we feel but shock? Finch and Yonge – weren’t we just there last week? How can this happen here? Is this what the world is really like? We’re thankful for our first responders and for bystanders who cared for strangers who were in need. But we’re shaken.
Bringing up God in these moments comes with baggage. Do we really believe there is a good God who lets these things happen? We sit in ashes with Job and the families of the loved ones who are now lost and ask, “Where is God?” The question is far easier to ask than it is to answer.
Across Toronto tonight on the roofs of churches stand tall spires, peaked with a cross. They mark a place of Christian worship. But they are also a statement – a profound, provocative statement – about what God is really like. The God of the cross is a God who suffers. He suffers with us, and shares the shock and pain of human experience. Our neighbourhood spires tell the story that in Christ, God moved into our neighbourhood and into the pains and sorrows of our world. On the cross Jesus knew suffering that was physical, emotional, and undeserved.
Where is God today?
He is with us in Toronto.
He is at the tomb of Lazarus, weeping.
But the paradox of the spire is that it also vaulted high into the sky. It has the air of the conqueror’s flag. It points to something that was accomplished years ago, which speaks meaningfully to our suffering now. Centuries before Jesus, the prophet Isaiah predicted the coming of one “by [whose] wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). The healing of the cross, raised tonight above our hurting city, is the affirmation that evil does not have the final word. The cross is the guarantee that the evil in our hearts can be forgiven for all who trust in Him, but also the guarantee of God’s coming victory over all evil, all pain and all suffering. One day, every tear we cry now will “be wiped away” and the justice we long for will “roll down like waters” (Rev. 21:4, Amos 5:24).
Tonight in Toronto we sleep under the cross – suffering but not alone, grieving but not without hope.