Did God take our son, or was it an accident? It depends on what you mean by “accident.” Was the crash unexpected, unintentional, unplanned? Yes, from our earthbound perspective, but not to God. The Lord was not caught off guard or taken by surprise on the night of the crash.
Was the crash without divine cause or influence? Was it preventable, random, avoidable, mere chance, coincidence, bad luck, just one of those things? No, it was not.
Leaving God out of it and classifying it exclusively as a chance event, a coincidence, a natural outcome of the laws of physics, bad luck, an unfortunate choice, pilot error or just a bad break makes me uncomfortable. It trivializes the whole horrible thing and seems to imply that God was not paying attention or that life is a throw of the dice, or that we are at the mercy of our own fallibility and the universe’s rigid natural laws over which God has no control, that there is no purpose for what happened. Stuff happens—It was just an accident.
Perhaps it happened by chance or natural laws, and then God used it for His purposes after the fact? It seems to me that, while it is true God can use any “random” event for His glory and our good, this way of thinking is akin to the idea that God created the universe but then things went terribly wrong, and He has been wringing His hands trying to get something good to come out of it ever since.
The fact is that God could easily have kept Hans from driving to the highway. God could have kept Hans from dying. But He did not.
I am one of those folks that believes God either causes or allows everything that comes to pass. God has His universe under control. God does not do evil. God is good. But He allows sinful man a lot of freedom to prove his utter hopelessness apart from his Creator and Sustainer—and sometimes that gets ugly.
Some say God never violates our free will. I thank God that He can and will overrule our choices if it suits His purposes. I rejoice He freed my self-loving will when He saved me from bondage to sin. Choices have consequences, but the Lord can influence our choices. He allows or enables us to choose or not to choose. He is in charge, not us. He has ordained that sorrow and evil are permitted for a season. This does nothing to taint His character. He is not obligated to explain Himself to us.
God is good and does good. He is merciful and in control of His universe. I think the difficulty for some comes when the loss occurs through events such as long-term illness, murder, or suicide rather than by an “accident.” Understandably, it is much harder to see any “good” at all connected with such things. Death is ugly. The horror and evil that is instrumental in the death of some of our loved ones is part of the groaning fallenness of our world. These things are not good. It is GOD that is good, and He will redeem and restore all things. He will make it right. His children have nothing to fear.
Many bereaved parents cannot believe this. They can see no acceptable reason for God to allow such heartbreak and therefore believe there must be no value or purpose in it. Second causes are elevated above the Sovereign Lord, who alone has the final say over all that will or will not take place.
On the night of Hans’s crash, God had the final say, not Satan. And not only will our Father redeem this loss for our good and His glory, but from it He can and will deliver a perfect and total victory in ways that we cannot imagine—ways that were ordained before the foundation of the world. I could not accept such a devastating loss from any other hand than that of my Savior who loves me.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: Ephesians 1:11
-Excerpt from my book Never Ceasing: God’s Faithfulness in Grief