I thought this article was interesting and well-written, but I most certainly do not agree with all of it, specifically, the writer's comments in the last portion of the article. I can understand why people would fail to see how God is in control of everything, when such horrific crimes like these occur. But to understand why is actually quite simple... from a faith standpoint, that is. God is omniscient, all-knowing. He knows how our lives begin, what will happen to us in our lifetimes, what choices we will make, and how our lives will end. GOD DOES NOT FORCE US INTO A LIFE OF DEFINED FATE. Rather, we are all given absolute free-will... but God, since He is all-knowing, knows what we are going to choose long before we make any decisions. God is PURELY good... there is not ONE tiny aspect of God that is evil. Satan is evil. Satan's influence on this world is the reason why such tragedies occur. God takes the tragedies of the world and uses them for good. For instance, in the horrific Columbine massacre, several of the students that were murdered were devout Christians. Since their deaths, groups of speakers (many who are family members of the Columbine victims themselves) have toured the country and the world, speaking to youth groups, schools, and various open community forums, about their loved ones and the lives of faith that they led. Because of the tragedy and the efforts of their family members thereafter, COUNTLESS people have come to know the Lord. Hence, the good rising from the bad. The beauty from the ashes.
Now, you may wonder why God doesn't stop evil things from occurring because He knows they will occur. If God did such things, it would be affecting the free will of humanity. God purposefully does NOT affect anyone's free will, because He loves us enough to allow us to choose for ourselves. Often, people choose wrong. We are all fallible. But some are highly influenced by Satan/evil and they hurt and/or kill people because of it.
|Posted on Wed, Aug. 25, 2004|
Pair's Slaying on the Beach Particularly Troubling...
By Scott Herhold
Maybe the reason that the slayings of Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall hit us so hard is that they were such soul mates, killed just four weeks before their wedding. At their bridal shower, friends took their picture together next to a rubber raft decorated with foam that looked like the white water they loved.
Maybe the reason their deaths gnaw at us is that they came from such a different culture than California cool. Allen, 26, of Zeeland, Mich., and Cutshall, 23, of Fresno, Ohio, were devout Midwesterners trying to spread the gospel at a rafting camp 40 miles east of Sacramento.
And maybe the reason we shiver at two young people shot to death in their sleeping bags on an isolated Sonoma County beach is that their killer had to go so far out of his way to snuff out their lives. It was a crime of calculation, not convenience. No robbery, no car theft, no apparent rape.
No slaying makes sense. Yet this one seemed particularly senseless. The victims had done nothing more to offend than laying their sleeping bags on the beach near a lean-to built out of driftwood.
If they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, then so are any of us who want to enjoy a California sunset or camp beneath a famous peak.
The killings reminded me of the outrage that followed the death of Ai Toyoshima, a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student who was raped and killed near San Jose's Bagby School in 1989. That case, like this, is one that sticks in a detective's craw.
In Jenner, detectives are following at least 150 leads. They're looking at a similar twin slaying last October in Arizona. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday that they're seeking a drifter who was stopped by Fort Bragg police two days after the bodies were found.
For the rest of us, the job of understanding what happened -- and why -- is far harder. What we know is that Allen and Cutshall shared a passion for the outdoors and a yearning to spread their faith.
Allen, who grew up in a Baptist family, enjoyed giving teenagers the whitewater ride of their lives. ``He enjoyed life,'' said Felix Hart, 63, a family friend of Allen's in Holland, Mich. ``He and Lindsay just knitted together so well. They were just so vibrant.''
One theory put forward early was that Cutshall and Allen might have been slain because of their Christianity. This feels wrong. While the two young people were clearly Christians, they were not overzealous about trying to convert others.
Equally unpersuasive -- at least to me -- is an explanation put forward by Allen's pastor in Michigan, the Rev. Rick Hoppe. ``Somebody meant this for evil, but God is using this for good,'' he said in his Sunday sermon. ``God wants you, he wants me, to trust him in the midst of this difficulty. God is in control of everything.''
You can understand that a minister would try to offer guidance to a congregation in the midst of shock. You can understand, too, that good might come of knowing more about the dedication of the two victims.
I'm no theologian. But the notion of God as choreographer for all our actions -- including two killings as incomprehensible as these -- is too cut-and-dried. It understates the enormity of the crime. It ignores the freedom humans have to blunder.
We can ascribe fate to the Almighty. The ugly truth, though, is that we create our own havoc. It shouldn't insult anyone's faith to say that sometimes we don't know why tragedy stalks our lives -- or that the job of finding the person responsible is ours alone.