Where Was God?
It’s difficult to watch the news this week. There have been several tragedies from natural disasters recently, but this one hit me harder. Senseless. Random. Murder. It was the intentional taking of innocent lives.
Not only was it premeditated, it was planned -- with pin-point detail. Twenty-three weapons, 1700 bullets, videos set up to track hallway activity, and a specific room to ensure a clear path to targets. The killer would have had to pack strategically to somehow get the extensive arsenal of weapons up 32 floors without anyone noticing. He likely shared the elevator with concert-goers who would later become his victims -- some may have even made small talk or smiled. No one knew a killer was in their midst, scheming their demise.
It is all so unsettling and leaves many wondering, “Where was God?” So many lives were lost — young college graduates starting their new lives, dedicated husbands, loving mothers, successful professionals. I have stopped watching the coverage and the stories of the lives lost. It is easier to stomach if I stay farther away.
But I believe it’s in times like these when God draws closer. Even if we don’t recognize or acknowledge His presence, God was there when the bullets were flying — in those who risked their lives to carry strangers out of danger, in the first responders who ran into open fire to rescue the wounded, in a country that is united, even momentarily, to weep, pray, and stand in lines to donate blood — together.
Ironically, it’s often in moments of despair when God is found. Survivor Taylor Benze would agree. As I listened to his CNN interview online, I was moved not only by how his sister thrust her body over his to protect him but also how he discovered God in the chaos. “I was agnostic going into that concert, but I’m a firm believer in God now because there is no way that I made it and I was blessed enough to still be here alive talking to you today,” Benze said.
Evil has existed from the beginning of time and will continue to lurk in the dark corners of our world. On this side of eternity, we may never understand why some were spared and others perished, but I believe this massacre is yet another reminder of how we need God more than ever now.
My prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, those in recovery, and all who were affected by this unthinkable tragedy. Which is each and every one of us.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18