This is usually the first question that comes to our minds when we hear of a tragedy. This question is then followed by:
How can this happen?
Why did it happen?
Who is capable of doing something like that? and Where is God in all of this?
As a father, my heart breaks for those who have lost a child through tragic events. It is at this time where I want to hold and have my daughter closer than ever. My mind tries to make sense of all of this, of the motives, the reasons why this happen and what the person responsible for this was thinking.
As I scroll through some Facebook and Twitter comments, I have read many heartfelt condolences, but I have also read comments such as “this is what happens when we take God out of school” or “such events happen when prayer has been banned from school”. Others champion gun control as a possible remedy, and tighter security. Though I believe that all these things might help prevent or lessen such tragedies I think that we are focusing more on the external and not on the internal. We are reacting on the physical level but not in the spiritual level.
I don’t believe that taking away prayer in schools should affect us as much as some say it has especially if we, as believers, are continually praying for and with our children at home. My daughter never prayed in school but she knows God, we’ve taught her about the importance of prayer and we make it a point to pray with her every day and have her pray as well.
Taking away the 10 Commandments from a public place should not mean that God’s commandments are not present in our lives and written in our hearts.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
I do understand the injustice and the ideologies behind the “world” that conspire against God and His church. I see that struggle and most times the one-sided battles that the church confronts and it’s disheartening and infuriating at times. I do however also realize that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). If we recognize that there is sin in this world and that all people are sinful, then we can see why tragedies like these happen. If people do not come to the light and they do not admit their sinful ways and repents then we can see how far the deprave and the wicked person can go to inflict harm. Tragedies, afflictions, problems, and disasters will come because there is sin in the world.
The initial question was “Where is God when all this happens? I would like to counter that question with this one. “What would be the outcome if God was not there?” If grace was not present and humanity would act and do whatever they pleased. If humanity would completely be given over to their fleshly, sinful desires, what would the world look like? Some might ask, “What kind of loving God might let this happen?” I can only imagine He might ask. “Why is my creation ignoring me, cursing at me and forsaking me?”
I believe that God is hurting and sadden by all these tragedies around the world. I don’t believe that He is a callous, insensitive, powerless or vengeful God. I believe that He wants to restore, redeem and renew everyone and therefore He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross for us. Maybe the question should not be “Where was God when all this happened?” maybe the question should be “What is my relationship with God?”