Where was God?

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My heart, like the hearts of many, has been broken over the tragedy in Connecticut. I cannot imagine the grief and anguish of the parents who lost their children to such senseless violence. As I watched the story unfold, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing, nor the questions from entering my mind. When tragedy strikes, our natural inclination is to ask, “Where were you God?”  and, “Why didn’t you step in and do something?” Whenever I wrestle with those questions, I return to a favorite passage; John 11.

In case you are unfamiliar with the story found in John 11, it is the story of friends of Jesus. Mary and Martha, two of Jesus’ best friends send word to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus is deathly ill. Jesus makes no attempt to rush to their rescue. In fact, He almost appears aloof or indifferent to their suffering. It was only after Lazarus died that Jesus went to Martha and Mary’s home.  Both Martha and Mary struggled to understand. In their weeping both challenged, “Lord, if you had been here this wouldn’t have happened.” In other words, “Where were you?”  I imagine they felt abandoned by the Almighty.  Their feelings don’t surprise me. It’s what happens next that surprises me most.

Jesus wept. Those two words bring me more comfort than almost any other in scripture.  He doesn’t scold Martha and Mary for their questioning. He doesn’t rebuke them or offer trite answers to fix their feelings. He crawls into their suffering with them and weeps.  Even though He knows in a matter of moments He is going to bring Lazarus back to life, Jesus weeps.  Imagine, tears streaming down the face of the Almighty! The one who threw the stars in space and holds the galaxies together, the one who crafted the mountains and the oceans, the great I Am stands there weeping.  It’s not just a tear or two that escape from the corner of His eyes. No. John tells us He wept.

When tempted to doubt God’s goodness or presence, remember that Jesus wept. He is with us in our sorrow. We don’t understand all of God’s ways.  We know some day He will overcome evil.  He has already conquered death. Someday there will be no more pain or sorrow. But in the meantime, while we live in a world with evil, He crawls into our suffering with us and weeps.



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