Much has been written over the centuries by Christian thinkers and theologians trying to frame the horror of violence and murder within a Biblical perspective we can understand. But when we witness violence as random, senseless, and vicious as yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing, even the most saintly believer finds it impossible not to ask “How could God let this happen?”
Below, we’ve gathered together some insights into this question that may help you process the Boston Marathon bombing and other acts of terrorism and violence:
- Facing Treachery Again — pastor and author Mel Lawrenz looks at how the famous Bible character David responded to violence against his friends and family, and what his example teaches us about how we should react to violence and terrorism today.
- What Does the Bible Say About Violence? — a few days ago, Mel wrote an in-depth look at what the Bible teaches about violence—where it comes from, why it exists, and how we can best respond to it. When we published that essay last week, we had no idea how relevant it would be just a few days later. You may also want to read Mel’s reflection on the violence at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year.
- Why Does God Allow Violence and Suffering? — writer and apologist Lee Strobel asks a challenging but critical question in the wake of tragedy. Lee’s message was written in response to the Aurora, Colorado shootings of 2012, but speaks directly to the current situation as well.
Remember, also, what the Bible teaches us about prayer: that prayer is powerful and effective. There will be other good ways to help in the aftermath of this violence—giving blood, donating to a relief organization, etc.—and we hope you’ll do whatever you’re able; but whatever else you do, remember to never stop praying. Pray for the victims and their families; for rescue workers sifting through the chaos; for law enforcement agencies working to find those responsible… and pray that in the aftermath of chaos, God’s grace and love will be made evident in the words and actions of His people.