As a country, have experienced some horrific tragedies. Some of us may ask the questions Do you know where God is when tragedy strikes? The bombing at the Boston Marathon, with the subsequent most massive manhunt that I can ever remember, the explosion in West Texas and the massacre of school children in Newton, Connecticut. Now today we have the Orlando Massacre. When we look back over the last few years, we realize there have been too many other occurrences of violence and they seem to be happening with even more frequency.
When children are involved – the loss of that innocence and potential – somehow “feels” even more devastating and heartbreaking. To my mind, John Donne 16th century author, theologian, poet and priest says it best:
When someone dies, I am diminished. Death is part of life, but when it is through an act of terror, there is an even greater sense of assault and violation because we recognize the loss of life in those circumstances is so unnecessary.
Often, a frequently asked question when this happens is: Where is God? For people of faith, it is a natural question. On this, Good Shepherd Sunday, we might even rephrase the question and ask: Where is the God who Shepherd’s us when we find ourselves in the Valley of the Shadow of death? One day peace will be realized on earth
In times of our greatest need and helplessness, there is something about the comfort that the 23rd Psalm offers that simply cannot be explained.
The Lord is my shepherd; * I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; * he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; * he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; * for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; * thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, * and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Although we all have the question in our hearts that where is God in tragedy, you must have faith that he is right there as psalm 23 states that “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one.
Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one. Let us not ask where is God in tragedy but may every human being be reminded of the precious gift of life you entered to share with us. May our hearts be pierced with compassion for those who suffer, and for those who have inflicted this violence, for your love is the only healing balm we know.
May the dead be received into your enfolding arms, and may your friends show the grieving they are not alone as they walk this valley of tears. All this we pray in the name of the one who walked the road to Calvary.1 Amen.Where is God in Tragedy? is God with us when tragedy strikes? God is here, within us holding our hearts and theirs.
Keep the Faith,