When Tragedy Happens to a Christian

prayforSPUTwo years ago my daughter, Alishea, who grew up mostly in Japan and went to school mostly at home, ventured into the wide world for the first time. She flew to Portland, Oregon to attend college and study music and the Bible. Since she needed to get a job and had never worked in the United States, I advised her to pray about it. It wasn’t too long before I got a nice phone call from her. She had gone into a sushi restaurant to find work and the owner had been praying for a Christian to come work for him. His daughter’s name  was Alicia (same name, different spelling). In short, both my daughter and this man knew that God’s hand was in the situation. He hired her and she thrived there as the only Japanese employee in the Korean-owned establishment. These are the kinds of stories we love to hear.

Alishea has worked at this restaurant for two years and has been able to pay for her education. She always spoke well of her boss and loved her job. When I visited her last summer he gave me the VIP treatment and he fed me all the best food. When Alishea came home for the summer last month he said, “Take your family out to eat on me.” That is just the kind of man he is.

I thank God that He blessed her and guided her to that place. I know that God is in control and I also know that He is good. That’s why it is so hard when tragedy strikes for no apparent reason, in someone’s life – even someone who also believes that God is good and God is in control. These are the kinds of stories we hate to hear.

This morning a church member here in Japan posted a link to a news article about the shooting at Seattle Pacific University. She asked for prayer because her son is attending school there and we soon got word that he is safe and was not injured. We were all very glad that Alishea’s friend, Jeremy, was OK.  But later when she walked by the computer as we were viewing a news article about the event she she suddenly pointed at the picture on the screen and exclaimed, “Oh no! That is Paul!

Satomi and I were shocked to find out that Paul Lee, the 19 year old Christian student who was shot and killed yesterday, is the son of the owner of the sushi restaurant in Portland that Alishea has worked at for the past two yearsShe has become so close to this family and knew the young man personally. Because of this it has hit us hard that sometimes we just don’t know the reason why. Why would our Good God let tragedy strike this family? I just don’t know. Why would someone senselessly take a life? I don’t know the answer to this question either. I do believe that Paul knows the answers now.

paulleePlease pray for Paul’s family, they are the ones left behind who will be struggling with this question and struggling to forgive and release this into our Good Lord’s hands until the day that they finally join Paul in eternity. I am praying for Paul’s dad Peter, his mom Mira, and his sister Alicia. Won’t you join me?