I’ve heard and read so many words since Friday. The one question that stands out, the one that demands an answer for the faithful, the faithless and the faith-broken, is this: Where was God on Friday?
From Christians to atheists, some ask it in anger. Some with an I-told-you-so demeanor. Some in shocked disbelief that He would abandon us in such a crucial moment.
For me, the question takes priority over the gun control arguments, the mental health debates. How it is answered may lead either to divine comfort or to desolation and despair. It is a question upon which hearts hang.
I am a Christian and I want to share my answer. I’m no religious expert. I can’t speak Christianese. My answer is what I believe based on my journey (admittedly at times tumultuous) with God and what I’ve read in His word. I hope it helps you in some way.
So, where was God Friday morning?
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He was there.
He saw first-hand.
He grieves with us.
He gave us the gift of free will – the freedom to know right and wrong and choose for ourselves - which we all appreciate until something goes wrong.
It’s up to us to choose; He will not intervene. If He did, if He were to reach inside and alter us, to arbitrarily make our choices for us, that would change the game entirely. You may ask why this is important. Here’s why I think it is:
What good would it be for God to create His people without free will? For those of us who choose Him, we do so freely – and that’s part of what makes the whole thing beautiful.
We can blame guns and mental health care and video games and Hollywood – but ultimately we are responsible for the choices we make. No one else. Certainly not God.
Adam Lanza either willingly committed a horrifying act – and if so exerted his own free will - or he was so ill that he was not in his right mind. We will never know; we weren’t there. But God was, and He will deal with it.
Even with that knowledge, I am reeling. I am human. I question and rage and despair. He knows this, too, and He comforts me. He’ll comfort you, too, if you run to Him.
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For those who lost a loved one Friday morning, I can’t begin to fathom the pain. I believe only God Himself can comfort you. I pray that He gives you “a peace that surpasses all human understanding.”