Was the Zimmerman-Martin Tragedy God’s Plan?

On February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman shoot and killed Trayvon Martin during a physical altercation.1 Media attention to the details surrounding this case seem to change daily and it has once again gained popularity by raising the question – Was Zimmerman’s killing of Martin God’s plan?

Recent attention has focused on Zimmerman’s comments about the event being part of God’s plan, but both sides of this tragedy have mentioned God’s involvement.

First, Zimmerman’s recent comments from his interview with Sean Hannity.

HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?

HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?

HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?

HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?
ZIMMERMAN: I feel it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it —

HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.2

He clarified some of the above later in the interview.

ZIMMERMAN: First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Stanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.3

A month or so earlier, Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, mentioned God on more than one occasion.

“It’s so easy for me to cry right now, but I can’t because I have work to do,” she told the congregation. “I was forced into this position, but I believe God is using me.”4

I asked her if she felt anger at God over her son’s tragic death? She immediately quoted Proverbs 3:5, citing both chapter and verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

She said she was finding comfort in the verse. She does not question God. She was asking for understanding. “At first, I kept on asking why me, why Trayvon. But now I know that God has called Trayvon. He was chosen.5

However, in reply to Zimmerman’s above comments about God’s plan, Fulton said.

“I really think that’s ridiculous,’’ Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “I wish Trayvon was here to tell his side of the story. I don’t believe that it’s God’s plan for him to kill an innocent teenager.’’6

Scripture gives insight into God’s control over life and death.

  • Since [man’s] days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,(Job 14:5 ESV)
  • Your eyes saw my unformed substance;  in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16 ESV)
  • For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a ESV)

How does the Christian answer?

Was God surprised by what happened that night? Was God unable to prevent Martin’s death? Was God’s plan thwarted by Zimmerman’s pull of the trigger? Did God not have a plan in this situation? Where the actions of that night are arbitrary in God’s providence? How does God comfort Martin’s family in this situation? How does God comfort Zimmerman and family in this situation?

Open for discussion: What do you say about God’s role in the above situation?

  1. Shooting of Trayvon Martin. Wikipedia.com
  2. Exclusive: George Zimmerman breaks silence on ‘Hannity’. Foxnews.com
  3. Ibid.
  4. Trayvon Martin’s mother gets an ovation at Balto. church. Baltimoresun.com
  5. A Conversation With Trayvon Martin’s Mother. Huffingtonpost.com
  6. Trayvon Martin’s parents: Killing our son not ‘God’s plan’. today.msnbc.msn.com

tagged as , in Culture,morality,theology

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christiane July 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm

am wondering if Zimmerman’s lawyer advised him not to appear on Hannity’s show . . . does anyone know about this?

2 mburatov July 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Christiane, I have no idea.

However, no one was innocent that night, neither Trayvon Martin nor Zimmerman. God was not surprised by Martin’s death and He was certainly not confused or thwarted by it. It is a shame that the racial element has blackened the case’s pursuit of justice so.

3 Mikado Cat July 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I have respect for those that do, but I do not believe God relieves us from choice, or sets down the days we live. God didn’t force Trayvon to beat Zimmerman, or for Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon, they each made choices of their own free will.

4 Omar July 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I agree Mikado Cat. God knows the end from the beginning, but from the moment He breathed life into Adam, He gave mankind free will. IF God were willing to step in and stop us from doing what He doesn’t like, then He would violate HIS OWN choice for giving mankind free will. And furthermore, the Bible tells us that it’s not God’s will than any should perish, but that all would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. So if one believes that God controls everything that happens, then why are so many dead set against God? Why are there atheists? Why is there evil in the world? God laid out his perfect plan for mankind. It’s up to mankind to choose whether or not they will walk in it. See, I have set before you this day life or death. Choose life.(my paraphrase). God does know the end from the beginning….He already knows who will choose to walk in His will and who will not. But he never forces us.

5 Darrin July 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

It’s free will’s fault! He’s done so much wrong I think it’s about time we tore that idol down!
But seriously, this like so many things in life get into the issue of God’s sovereignty and the fact that, in the sense of His foresight, control and work through all that comes to pass, all events are acccording to His will. Yet in the sense of whether all things follow His decrees, His statutes and commands, well obviously every time a man sins they do not. So, to clarify: yes and no. :\

6 Mark July 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

These conversation are interesting because when discussing God’s plan in this type of situation the default is to conflate God’s plan with causation that removes all of man’s freedom.


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