Tuesday of this week, I had to speak at the funeral of a couple, from our church, who had been shot and killed in their home, by a former business associate. It was tragic, sad, and senseless. Where do you find words of comfort and hope in a time like that?
Or like today...
Just 3 days later, 27 people are dead in Connecticut, 20 of them small children, from a shooting rampage at an elementary school. When I heard I became sick to my stomach.
At Tuesday's funeral, I shared some thoughts from John 11, which tells of Jesus' interaction with a grieving family at a graveside Two sisters make the exact same statement to Jesus; "If you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died." Stated a different way, "Jesus, where were you?"
That's the same question I'm hearing today. Where was God?
In the passage Jesus doesn't really try to give easy answers, which is good, because, as I shared Tuesday, I'm not sure I'm ready to process the "answers"...even the theological ones. No, it says in verse 33 that when He saw their grieving He was "deeply moved and troubled."
Then it simply says "Jesus wept."
And honestly, that's what I needed to hear. I take comfort in the compassion of God for our pain.
I think that's what we all need to hear right now. God's heart breaks as He sees our suffering. He created our world to be a place of beauty and has given a path that will lead to abundant life. Sadly, we have rejected Him and said that we know better. But then, when our world erupts with things like the today's horror, we ask, "Where was God?"
Well, God was there, heart broken because of our pain and the distortion of His creation. But He was there offering comfort, peace, and refuge to anyone who would call out to Him.
If we're trying to make sense of things like today, I think we're going to be frustrated. It doesn't make sense. I've said it a lot this week; bad people do bad things and it breaks God's heart. I'm not sure why God doesn't intervene and intercept every horrible act of our free will...I'm not sure I even understand the implications if He did. But, what I do know is that He loves us and grieves with us. He invites us to draw close to Him and find comfort, rest, and strength to sustain us and to share with those around us.
To quote another passage..."Comfort one another with these words."