Accidents can make a huge impact on our lives and can therefore be very difficult to come to terms with. This is especially true if we were expecting God to protect us. God is righteous and fair, yet accidents are so utterly unfair and arbitrary. An error of judgement made in one second can affect us for the rest of our lives. Why does God allow accidents to happen? Could He not have created a world in which there were no such thing as accidents?
Why accidents happen
The basic reason why accidents happen is because we have limited knowledge and wisdom. If we knew an aeroplane had a serious fault in an engine, then we would not board it. Accidents occur when we become aware of the danger and it is too late to do anything about it.
Some accidents can be foreseen. A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it (Proverbs 22:3). This type of accident is a mistake. Other accidents cannot be foreseen. If we have a healthy relationship with God, He can warn us of danger ahead. Some 'accidents' are caused by God, the devil, or man, or a combination of all three.
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves whether we take unacceptable risks for trivial reasons (such as partaking in extreme sports). Our character will play a part here. If we are overconfident in our own abilities then we will be more prone to accidents than would otherwise be the case.
Sometimes there is a link between sin and an accident and sometimes there is not.
Can God prevent accidents?
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' Jesus answered him, 'It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' (Matthew 4:5-7).
God promises comprehensive protection to those who trust in Him. He can even keep us from stubbing our foot on a stone. However as Jesus shows us, we have a responsibility not to misuse this promise.
Why God allows accidents
God does not promise to keep everyone from accidents. Why should God warn someone if they avoid even thinking about Him?
We need to ask ourselves whether the level of trust we place in Him is appropriate, given the loyalty we show Him. Do we expect complete protection but are not willing to spend time with Him to confirm we are pleasing Him? Is our expectation fair?
Some people enjoy full protection from God. If they suffer an accident, it would be because God consciously lifted the protection for a particular righteous purpose. This purpose could include chastening, testing their faith or character building. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).