Christians often ask this question when something goes wrong. I hear it frequently. When a baby dies in accident, or a Christian with an influential ministry dies young, you guarantee that Christians will be asking, "Why did God allow it?"

I understand their grief and confusion, but I hate the question. It is an insult to God. It casts aspersions on his character that he does not deserve. Every time that I hear someone ask the question I cringe.

The question that Christians should be asking when tragedy strikes is this: "Why did the Church allow it?" More on that on the minute!

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We need to be clear about one thing. God does not allow things. He does not even allow evil.

God created a beautiful world. There was no tragedy and no trace of evil in it.

He gave this beautiful world to mankind. He gave us full control over it, without recourse.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they invited sin and evil into the world. God did not allow it. He could not stop it because he had given authority over the world to humans, so hands were tied. This means that humans are responsible for everything that happens on earth. When a tragedy occurs, we should not be asking why God allowed it. We should be asking why humans allowed it.

But there is more. God did not just sit back and watch humans make a mess on earth. He sent his son Jesus as a human to deal with sin and evil. Jesus death on the cross paid the penalty for sin. His death and resurrection destroyed the power of the devil. His death and resurrection destroyed the power of evil. Jesus poured out his Holy Spirit on the church, equipping us with the authority and the power we need, to eliminate the influence of evil on earth.

God has given the church everything that it needs to destroy the power of evil. Therefore, when something bad happens on earth, we should not be asking why God allowed it. He didn't. He actually gave the church the power and authority it needs to prevent it from happening, so we cannot blame him.

We cannot blame the devil either. The devil is a destroyer and killer, but his rights on earth were destroyed by the cross. Whereas God obeys his rules, the devil is a liar and will cheat on the rules whenever he gets the opportunity. He will poke into places that he has no right to be, if the church allows him. If he is able to do evil, it is because the Church has allowed him.

When tragedy strikes, there is only one honest question we can honestly ask. "Why did the church allow it?"

Unfortunately, we believe in all sorts of lies to wiggle out of this responsibility.

We accept these lies to avoid facing the truth that God has equipped the church with everything it needs to defeat and destroy evil. Evil does not just happen. It happens when we have failed to take up all that God has given us.

Given that God has given us such a beautiful world, and his people all that we need to clean it up and make it into the beautiful place that he intended it to be, we have a bit of a cheek to blame God when it gets into a mess. When we ask "Why did God allow it?" we are saying that Jesus did not do enough on the cross, or the Holy Spirit is not powerful enough, to clean up this world. We are blaming God for our mess. That is a dangerous game to play.

If a Christian man dies young, it is never God allowed it. It is always because the church allowed it. There are many ways that we might have allowed it to happen.

So when tragedy strikes, we should stop asking why God allowed it. We should be asking how we allowed it to happen. We should be asking God to teach us what we need to do as a church, to make sure it does not happen again.

See God and Disaster for an intersting parable about Julie and Jenny

and a warning about Taking Offense.