Thursday, April 19, 2007
Where was God?
The entire nation was rocked by the news that came out of Blacksburg, VA on Monday, April 16, 2007. The Virginia Tech campus was besieged by a lone gunman who murdered 32 people before taking his own life.
As our emotions waver between grief and anger, many questions are asked, not the least of which is, "Where was God?"
The truth is that God was there. The psalmist wrote in Psalms 139:8, "If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." This tells us that God is with us even in the darkest, most unlikely places.
The question stems not so much from wanting to know where He was, as to why He allowed it to happen. This is a much more difficult question. And while theologians and philosophers debate over it, there are a few things we can know for sure:
• This was not God's divine wrath
There are those who would have us believe that this is yet another example of God meting out His wrath on an unbelieving world. While scripture tells us that God will one day judge the world, right now we are in the age of God's grace. This means that God is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
• God was intimately connected with each person killed
In Matthew 10:29, Jesus tells us that God is aware of every sparrow that falls to the ground. If God is that intimately aware of each sparrow, how much more is He aware of every person?
Jesus then mentions that God has the very hairs on our head numbered! The implication is that God is concerned with even the smallest details in our lives. This leads to the last, and maybe most difficult to accept, observation:
• God has a plan behind every tragedy
The first two verses of John 9 are very telling. The disciples ask Jesus why a certain man was born blind; they thought it was a result of God's judgment on his sin or his parents' sin.
Jesus tells them that it was neither; he was born blind so that the power of God might be seen in him. Jesus then healed the man and he became a living testimony of the goodness of God.
This is admittedly hard to accept in the wake of a tragedy on the scale of the Va Tech rampage, but I believe that God's power will be displayed through it. How? I'm not sure. But one thing that immediately comes to mind is the story of self-sacrifice that one professor made to protect the few students he could.
What better illustration could there be of the love of God in sacrificing His own Son for our salvation?