Whenever we face tragedy we wonder. Some of us find comfort in answers such as “God is in control” or “All things work together for good.” For many of us though, these statements are trite and empty. If God is in control, did He want 20 children to be gunned down in their classroom? If so, He is not good.
Tragedy causes us to search for answers. We want to make sense of horrible events. We want to know why. I believe that there is never a good answer, but I do also believe that God is good.
So where is God when children die? He is not behind the scenes controlling events. He is not pouring out His wrath upon sinful human beings. Jesus addressed these ideas when He told His disciples that a blind man was not born blind because of sin (John 9), and when He preached that the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked (Matthew 5). This is a broken world full of broken people. Bad things happen to good people and to bad.
So where is God?
I believe God is present when we feel the pain of those who suffer. I believe God is present when people rush to the aid and comfort of others with no regard for themselves. God is there when there is love and sacrifice. God is felt when people pour out themselves for other. God is there when people identify with the suffering of others. God is there when we help the helpless.
God can always be found in the place of pain and tragedy holding the fearful and comforting the heartbroken.