Sometimes horrible things happen. Terrible, awful things. Like earthquakes. And floods. And hurricanes. People die, families are torn apart and there is grief. Real and palpable and painful, everywhere.
And we, as humans, we look up. Up to God or some higher being and we raise our arms at Him or them, or whatever it is that we believe in or don’t, and we cry out in despair, ‘WHY!?’
‘Why did this have to happen? Why did you let this happen? How could you?’
But then an unnatural disaster occurs. It hits us out of the blue, it cuts through the humdrum, the relative peace and, to some extent, obliviousness of our lives and it shakes us. It wakes us up and it forces us to take stock of what’s around us, of what is really important. And it makes us question humanity.
Because this time, the thing that caused deaths and hurt and tragedy isn’t an element of nature. It isn’t the wind, or a convection current gone wild; we can’t pin it on shifting plate tectonics.
Because it’s human.
It’s down to one person, or a group, so controllable, so preventable and yet completely unknown, unforseen, unpredicted and unexpected all at the same time.
How can one person wreak such havoc and leave such pain in their wake?
And more importantly why do they want to?
I was naively talking the other day about how magical Christmas markets are, how twinkly and pretty and how quintessentially festive they are. But now, I have a feeling that something so innocently synonymous with this time of year, will be forever tinged and tainted by immense sadness and injustice.
Yesterday a lorry was hijacked in Berlin, where it ploughed through a Christmas market, killing at least 12 people and injuring more than 50. Innocent people, minding their own business, meeting with friends, laughing most probably, chatting, catching up, sipping mulled wine and buying presents for loved ones. Happy, content, joyful even. Doing exactly what I was doing on saturday.
And then all of a sudden, they were completely and utterly caught of guard. Rabbits in headlights, unable to escape. Panic stricken. Because of one persons desire to harm and hurt, maim and kill.
How truly, truly awful.
And for what? Why?
Just, why? I can’t stop asking, why?
I don’t understand it. And it scares me that all over the world, we are hurting each other. That people are displaying such cruelty and hatred to others. Life is short enough as it is without all this terror.
My prayer this Christmas is for the people all other the world facing fear and adversity, tragedy and cruelty. My prayer is that those families who have lost loved ones this year, who are hurting and finding it hard to make sense of all the disaster and despair around them, that they would know God’s peace.
And that all this hate and anger and animosity would finally cease.