Little Karen Avery is on my mind once again this morning. If you haven't read any of my previous posts on my experiences with the Jeff Lundgren cult, Karen was the youngest victim to be murdered by Jeff along with the rest of her family. In some ways, Karen could be the poster child for all the evil and tragedy that exists in the world. It is so difficult to understand how God could let such terrible things happen. How could the murder of little Karen Avery be the will of a loving God? Doesn't such an occurence argue more favorably for a God of anger and vengance? It often seems that way in our limited, human understanding.
Once again in my mind's eye, I hear Karen talk to me. "This is not about what God did to me! I chose this path! This was what I volunteered to do to help set others free! This was what I did so people could dialogue and learn about issues like justice and anger and control. I died so others could learn their life lessons! I died because I love!"
I believe this earthly life is designed for learning and growth. We plan our experiences in great detail, knowing the experiences are not always meant to be pleasant but can always be used to further our understanding. This belief contradicts the belief in an all-powerful God who orchestrates every situation--the way many people seem to view God. This is not to say I don't believe in the hand of God to move on our behalf. God will act on our behalf when we ask Him to. Rather, I think we are given much more power and choice to act in this world than that notion implies--even the power to create. Free will wallks hand in hand with the act of creation.
Acts of senseless violence and destruction occur all the time. US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot and many people were killed or injured in that tragic Tuscon attack. Thousands of people have died in the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. On a smaller scale, people die in car accidents or in tornados. Some are killed in wars or in drug deals. What we judge to be bad or evil is not the wrath of an angry, all-powerful God but the natural flow of experience which is designed to take us to higher states of awareness. It is only when we internalize this idea that we see tragedy for what it is: the process we use to gain strength and wisdom. This is why we are counseled to "praise God for all things".
Maybe tragedy is the will of God--a God who loves us and desires our increasing understanding and growth.