My 80-year-old mother posed that question to me last week. Then she continued, "I've never lived through something like this before."
In my response, I directed her to God's Word, specifically Luke 13:1-5:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Jesus' message to the crowd and to you and me is that
tragedy is an opportunity for us to reflect on our lives and to repent
μετανοῆτε)--that is, by the power of the Holy Spirit to turn away from our sin and to turn to God.
During this Lenten season, a season of repentance when we may be fasting in ways far different from our expectations, we are being given ample opportunity to turn once again to the cross of Christ where there is forgiveness and ultimate healing.
In the midst of confusing times with multiple messages, faith grasps God's ultimate communication to us in the person of Jesus. In him is our hope.