The bridge collapse in Minneapolis is much in the news. In fact, to watch Fox News, it is the news. From the Minneapolis StarTribune, some (relatively) good news:
The death toll rose today as divers prepared to reenter the Mississippi River under dangerous conditions. The number of missing people was lowered to eight.
It could have been much, much worse.
Now, the question of the day for believers: where was God? Was there any particular reason that God chose those who died? Or any particular reason that God chose those who lived? If one believes that not even a sparrow can fall to earth without God’s knowledge (Matthew 10:29), how is it that God allows those of us who are made “in His image” to die without reason?
Well, brothers and sisters, I’m afraid that many of us confuse God knowing with God acting as we would have Him act. Yes, we all of us, me included, pray for deliverance from tough spots. There truly are no atheists in foxholes; we all seek help from the divine when we know we can’t do it all ourselves.
What we all have to accept is that God listens; he’s the universal Kinkos, open 24/7/365. But that deliverance may not arrive in time to save our bodies. The bottom line here? We all sin. We sin against each other in ways too numerous to recount.
Who knows but that some sin against our fellow man was behind this bridge collapse? Perhaps a contractor who took a bribe to use cheap materials; perhaps some workers who knowingly didn’t build to code.
I’m not at all saying that I know such things happened. I hope and pray they did not, and so far there’s no evidence to support this. Let’s just say that human history of full of very similar incidents, and it would not be too great a stretch to imagine it happening in this instance.
Worse than sinning against our fellow man, we also sin against God. Who among us has not broken one or more of God’s commandments? Answer: no one; we have all sinned against God. So who is worthy of God’s salvation in a bridge collapse? We can’t answer this question; even to guess at it is to assume we have God’s sight. Which is, in its own way, a sin of pride.
Jesus has given us some words that seem to apply to the bridge collapse, and it provides a useful reminder that we are all under God’s judgment. From Luke 13:
1There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Your body is guaranteed to perish. We’re only renters, after all. But repent, and believe the good news, and your soul will live.