Where is God when tragedy strikes like the one in
Newtown, Connecticut? Where is Jesus when children are slain?
Jesus is and was right there. If we think back to the first
Christmas, we’ll find Jesus in the midst of the worst scenario. In
Matthew 4:13, King Herod had discovered that Jesus had been born.
In response, he did a monstrous thing: He decreed that all boys in
and around Bethlehem 2 years old and under were to be killed. His
parents fled with Jesus to Egypt.
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It’s unthinkable to me that this is the world that Jesus was
born into! A dark, violent world. And yet the light shone in the
As an adult, Jesus told his followers in John 16:33: “Here on
earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart,
because I have overcome the world.” It breaks my heart that 26
people (20 of them children) lost their lives so tragically. Talk
about trials and sorrows for their loved ones.
The promise, though, is that Jesus overcomes the world. This is
what I experienced in my own life when my husband was tragically
killed in a snowmobile accident: Jesus has overcome the world. In
the midst of such great sorrow and loss, the one thing that
sustained me was Jesus’ presence in the midst of it. I felt
undergirded by a comfort that can only be described as
supernatural. I finally knew what “the peace that passes
understanding” means. And that’s what I pray for the families and
community of Newtown–peace that passes understanding.
Where is Jesus when children are slain? I can’t stop thinking of
something a children’s minister told me once. Tragically, her
husband was murdered in front of their 2-year-old granddaughter (by
the child’s father). When the child relayed what had happened to
her grandmother and counselors, she continued to talk about the
third man who was in the room. It was Jesus. He was right there,
weeping for what evil had wrought. And he was with the child.
Elie Wiesel wrote in his Nobel-Peace Prize-winning book
Night about his time in a Nazi concentration camp. On
a ghastly day, three prisoners were executed and the others had to
file by the gallows. Elie heard someone ask, “For God’s sake, where
is God?” Elie writes, “And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
‘Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows.”
Those who’ve journeyed through the trials and sorrows that this
world brings, can attest that God is right here in the midst of
this broken world, providing comfort and support.
I believe with all my heart that our loving God was present with
comfort for those slain. He was right there with them, weeping over
the evil the shooter chose by his free will. And he was right there
with them, holding them in his loving arms. His light was shining
in the darkness.