God does not always prevent tragedy.

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President Spencer W. Kimball once commented on the many seemingly inexplicable tragedies that happen in the world:

“Could the Lord have prevented these tragedies? The answer is, Yes. The Lord is omnipotent, with all power to control our lives, save us pain, prevent all accidents, … even [protect us] from death, if he will. But he will not. …

“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith. …

“… If we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery. …



“… I am grateful that even through the priesthood I cannot heal all the sick. I might heal people who should die. I might relieve people of suffering who should suffer. I fear I would frustrate the purposes of God.

“Had I limitless power, and yet limited vision and understanding, I might have saved Abinadi from the flames of fire when he was burned at the stake, and in doing so I might have irreparably damaged him. He died a martyr and went to a martyr’s reward—exaltation.

“I would likely have protected Paul against his woes if my power were boundless. I would surely have healed his ‘thorn in the flesh.’ [Corinthians 12:7.] And in so doing I might have foiled the Lord’s program. …

“I fear that had I been in Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844, I might have deflected the bullets that pierced the body of the Prophet [Joseph Smith] and the Patriarch [Hyrum Smith]. I might have saved them from the sufferings and agony, but lost them to the martyr’s death and reward. …

“With such uncontrolled power, I surely would have felt to protect Christ from the agony in Gethsemane, the insults, the thorny crown, the indignities in the court, the physical injuries. I would have administered to his wounds and healed them, giving him cooling water instead of vinegar. I might have saved him from suffering and death, and lost to the world his atoning sacrifice. …

“In the face of apparent tragedy we must put our trust in God, knowing that despite our limited view his purposes will not fail” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 14–17, 20).