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When Life Does NOT Make Sense

Every parent’s worst nightmare involves something happening to their child. Yesterday, parents in Uvalde had their nightmare come true. Nineteen children and two adults died in the senseless shooting spree of an 18-year-old man. These children were in their final days of school, following their teacher’s lead, looking forward to the sweet days of summer break. They didn’t deserve to die yesterday. So from every angle, this makes no sense.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive. They are reviewing the shooter’s actions and movements, asking “why?” with every possible source. But after years of walking through grief with families, one thing is certain: no “why” will be good enough to make this make sense. After a young man plotted, purchased the weapons, and made a series of evil choices, another question will arise: “Why didn’t God STOP this from happening?”

I have been asked that question so many times, and today my answer is still the same: “I don’t know. What I can do is focus on what I DO know.”


  • This wasn’t some kind of judgment of God on those victims. This responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of this shooter.
  • Just as every single one of us has the ability to choose, so this young man used his in a malicious way.
  • As long as we live in this fallen world, we will face losses to disease, violence, human error, and faulty choices.
  • But most importantly is this: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

When we face a tragedy like this, we often want to assume control and tell God what He should or shouldn’t do, how life is supposed to work, and we want to be able to stop things that don’t make sense. We want a boundary for senseless things, but we don’t want God to control our OWN senseless choices. Therein lies the dilemma: we want freedom for ourselves but we want Him to remove freedom from people who can hurt us or those we love.

Jesus told the disciples something they didn’t want to hear. “In this world, you will have much trouble, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” THAT is what I cling to on days like this. “This isn’t right. It doesn’t make sense. But I have already dealt with the final outcome, and until then, I will draw close to you when you’re brokenhearted. I will redeem you when your spirit is crushed.”

So we choose to grieve with these families, to make their grief our own, and to trust God to redeem this senseless day. That doesn’t make it hurt less.

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