Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where is God when.....

    There's a message that floats around my inbox and fills up my FB news feed---it turns up usually when something tragic has happened.  I'm sure you've seen it too---it's the one that addresses the question of where is God when tragedy strikes.  The answer given in this particular message is something like--Well---we have continually asked God to get out of our schools---out of our government---out of our lives---and so He finally has obliged us in this respect.

And I just feel like I need to say this---Guys, God has never needed our permission---or an engraved invitation from us---to be present in our schools---in our government---in our lives.  God is here---He made this world and everything in it.  We broke it with sin---but God didn't leave us when sin entered the world---He set a plan in motion to redeem it through Christ.  

  If God turned His back on us every time we turned our back on Him---we would all be in a very dire position---to say the least.  But God doesn't love the way we love---He loves unconditionally.  And He doesn't give up on us when we give up on Him.  God is in our schools because He's God---He isn't Tinkerbell waiting for us to clap our hands and say that Yes, we do believe in fairies.  It isn't our belief in Him that gives Him life or meaning or anything at all.  Our belief in Him is what gives US new life, meaning, salvation, and anything Good.  God is God---and He is here whether we believe in Him---whether we invite Him or not.  God is in our schools because He lives in the hearts of our students, our administrators, our teachers.  God is present.  

With that said---the inevitable questions follow....

Why would God let this happen?

If God is sovereign---then this tragedy is His will---and how can it be that He is a good God if this is so???

Questions like these have no easy answers...

What happened in Connecticut was a tragedy of monumental proportions---one that strikes a chord of empathy and compassion in all of us.  Our grief is ignited for the people whose lives were either taken or turned upside down by the loss of a family member or loved one.  And the grief is amplified exponentially when the lives of children are taken.  It shakes us.  I think our love for children is a holy love---one given to us by a God who took particular delight in children.  The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these....  And I believe God too---feels the grief that we feel when children are harmed.

The fact that children were exposed to this kind of violence----it makes it all the more horrible---all the more unconscionable---all the more evil.  And in writing this---it is not my intention to make the events of yesterday out to be anything other than what they are.  

Evil walked the halls of that elementary school yesterday.  But friends, I don't believe for a second that God wasn't there as well.  

I know that God was there when I read about Victoria Soto, who stood between her students and the gunman---who sacrificed her life for theirs. 

I know that God was there when I read about the principal  and school psychologist who, upon hearing the first gunshots, immediately ran towards the danger in an effort to confront the gunman---they died trying to protect the students and faculty of their school.

And I'm certain that as time passes, more stories will come to light---stories of people who put themselves in harms' way to protect others.  

And this love of others before self---this self-sacrificing kind of love----I just don't believe it can be present when God is not.  

Our God is a God who lives in the hearts of His children.  And wherever His children are---there He is also.  He doesn't leave us when terrible things happen.  I don't have any answers about the whys...and my heart and my prayers go out to any and all whose lives were forever changed by yesterday's tragedy.  But in the midst of this uncertainty---I do know some things which remain true:  God is present---and God loves us.  And there will come a time when He will make all things new.