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The Question of Why?
Cindy Lipscomb and June Bonnin had met only two years before, but they quickly became best friends. They shared a profound faith in Christ and had daughters about the same age. Cindy had three daughters: Rainey, 10, Lacey, 8, and Jesse Anne, 5. June had a daughter, Ashley, 8, and a granddaughter, Jessica, 12. They enjoyed being together. For spring break they decided to take a train trip to Chicago on Amtrak’s famous City of New Orleans. They went to the top of Chicago’s Sears Tower, visited the children’s museum, and shopped. What stories the little girls would have to tell their school friends the next week!
On the return trip, all seemed peaceful as the train quietly sped down the track on that cold March night in 1999. Cindy’s family was assigned a sleeping car in the back of the train; June’s family was in the front. The older girls wanted to have a slumber party together, so Rainey and Lacey kissed their mom goodnight and went off to be with the Bonnins in the front of the train. Less than an hour later, about fifty miles south of Chicago, the train slammed into a truck loaded with steel. The horrendous impact (heard miles away) derailed all but three of the railroad cars, leaving the cars strewn around the tracks like an accordion. One engine split in half. Flames engulfed the front cars.
Frantically, Cindy made her way toward her daughters. “I wanted to die when I saw the flames because I knew. It was either lay down and die or pray, and I just sat down and prayed,” Cindy said. When it was all over, eleven people were dead, including Rainey, Lacey, June Bonnin, and June’s granddaughter Jessica. Miraculously, Bonnin’s eight-year-old daughter, Ashley, was able to crawl out of the wreckage, just as the door of the train (now turned over) came crashing down, severing her foot and lower leg.
When we hear of such tragic events, even the most devout can’t help but wonder why. Of the two hundred people on the train, why did these sweet little girls and a godly mother perish? After all, they were committed Christians. Ironically, June Bonnin had just seemed to win a four-year battle with cancer. Why would she now die like this? Why couldn’t they all providentially have been in the rear sleeping car rather than the front? Why couldn’t the accident have been an hour earlier? Then at least Rainey and Lacey would have survived. Why didn’t the trucker stop?
What good could possibly come from such a tragedy? Much is unclear, but some things are evident. Cindy, her husband Matt Lipscomb, and June Bonnin’s husband Max gave a beautiful testimony for Christ throughout the ordeal as they were interviewed by the local and national media, including the national television networks. The funeral was broadcast live on Memphis television. Christ received great glory, and undoubtedly many people came to faith in Jesus through their testimony. Still, much remains a mystery. – Miller, Stephen. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Nahum-Malachi: 20 (p. 55-56). B&H Publishing Group.
No, it really is not a mystery, the Bible tells us why. The question of why in the face of great tragedies is intensified because we tend to overly attribute what we perceive to be “hand of God” moments to God or the Holy Spirit. Before delving into the biblical answers below, let’s look at one more brief story. In January 1894, a four-year-old boy fell in the icy waters of a powerful river. Johann Kuehberger, a former priest was there and he humped in and saved the four-year-old boy. If this had been caught on video in modern-day times, it would go viral on Facebook and Twitter as a miracle, where God had used Johann Kuehberger, a former priest to save the young child. Now, once the name of the child is disclosed, you will see why we do not rush to over contribute things to God. The four-year-old boy was See Here.
THESE BIBLE SUBJECTS ARE OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD
MISUNDERSTOOD NO MORE
- God is INDIRECTLY responsible for ALL things and DIRECTLY responsible for SOME things
- Does God Step in and Solve Our Every Problem Because We are Faithful?
- Is Foreknowledge Compatible with Free Will?
- Why has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering?
- Why is Life So Unfair?
- When Bad Things Happen to Good People
- No Absolutes