Health & Spirit

Las Vegas shooting brings more human suffering, but some find hope mixed with the grief

Martha Quillin, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Religious News

"One of the things we reflected on is the fact that the mystery of human suffering is just that – a mystery," Jorgenson said. "At the end of the book, Job is reduced to silence and given this vision of the immensity of God and the complexity of the world, and that's where the book leaves it. His suffering is never dismissed with platitudes."

President Donald Trump addressed the nation on Monday, a day after 50 people were killed and 400 were injured when a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas concert. He praised the speed of Las Vegas police and other first responders who responded to the scene and assured those who were now mourning friends and family "we are here for you."

"Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask God to help see you through this very dark period," he said.

"Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit," Trump continued. "We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward."

Jorgenson, the theology professor, says comfort won't come from trying to understand why God allows suffering, a notion that presents a stumbling block for many believers.

"I encounter people who cannot believe in God, who refuse to believe in God, saying they simply cannot believe in a god that allows these things to happen," Jorgenson said.

But in the Christian tradition, God didn't just allow humans to suffer. He suffered, too, through the death of his son, Jesus, on the cross.

"That changes everything," Jorgenson said. "God does not stand back, aloof, from human suffering. We never suffer alone. God is with us, not only in sympathy but in solidarity, as one who has suffered as well.

"That's not an answer to the mystery of why God allows bad things to happen to good people," he said. "It doesn't take away suffering, but it re-signifies it. And that is enough to give hope."

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