Yes… It is the will of God to permit tragedies and trials. Everything that happens in permitted by him.
No… However, God doesn’t want everything He permits! There is a subtle but important difference between permitting something and wanting it to happen!
*… did not want the ancient Israelites to divorce, but he permitted it because of the hardness of their hearts (Matt. 19:8).
* … did not want ancient people to have more than one wife (Gen. 2:24), but regulated it when Israel was a primitive society (Deut. 21:15-17)
* … did not want Israel to have a king (2 Sam. 10:17-19), but tolerated it and even had his prophets anoint them.
* … does not want anyone to rebel against Him and be lost (2 Pet. 3:9), and yet gives men the free will to do it.
* Often Christian parents will allow their teenage children to do something that they don’t necessarily want them to do, so that they will learn to face the consequences of their actions.
I can think of two Biblical reasons why God allows things to happen that He doesn’t necessarily want:
(1) He wants to give us free will (Deut. 30:15-19). He wants us to have the freedom to choose. He doesn’t want us to make bad choices but He allows them.
(2) He allows tragedies because He doesn’t want us to become too attached to this world that has become corrupted by sin. Rather, He wants us to prove our love by learning to deal with trials and then have eternal life with Him (2 Cor. 4:17).
Careful with our words!
Whenever a child dies or someone suffers horribly, we need to be careful before saying, “God wants this.” Yes, God allows trials and tragedies, as in the case of Job, but that doesn’t mean that He wants them. When we suffer, let’s blame Satan and the curses that come upon our world because of sin. Let’s never blame God!