Where is God?
We tend to ask this question in moments of tragedy and loss. Most recently, the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning.
Today, there are civil wars, refugees seeking shelter, persecution because of gender and sexual identity, natural disasters, violence in the name of religion, among many others.
Many rest their heads in sorrow this day, others in fear. Many will starve, many will struggle, many will risk their lives.
Where is God in all of this?
At the same time, we come to recognize God in those game-changing moments. The birth of a new child. A milestone such as a birthday, an anniversary, a personal feat like sobriety and education. Watching a loved one take their last breath. In all of life’s transitions, we can easily find and feel the presence of God.
Call God by whatever name you feel most comfortable: Allah- I Am – Yahweh – Elohim-Abba-El Elyon – Shen – Creator – Source, among others.
When you call this name, does God answer?
We do not have a shortage of tragedy in our world. In those horrific moments, we rightly ask, where is God?
Where is the God that parted the Red Sea? Where is the God that healed the sick? Where is the God and God’s angels when people are suffering?
I am not wise enough to know this answer. I do not know why God intervenes at certain points in human history, while at others we are left as what feels like alone.
What I do know with great confidence is this: when there is the human response to tragedy, the outpouring of love, community, prayers, and action all reflect not only the power of the human spirit, but God’s Spirit.
It is here where God lives. We, as a species, and with our freedom, make decisions that can hurt or heal. When we hurt, we sin (I like to think of as sin as anything we do that separates us from God). When we heal, we are acting with that divine spirit.
The Apostles, gifted with the Holy Spirit (as are we), reveal how to bring God into the world in Acts 2:42-47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I do not know where God is in those moments of tragedy-when Churches burn, when people suffer, when bullets and bombs take last breaths, and when wounds of the soul and of the body are created. In these moments, we look to the heavens for an answer.
Instead, we need to look within.
Find God living there, in your heart.
Allow your soul to praise your God, both in song and in action.
May others answer that question of “where is God,” by pointing right to you.
As was said of the early Christians, “see how they love one another.”
Love one another, glorify God’s love and God’s presence, as you serve in response and in spite of the hardships and difficulties.