Like the rest of you, I sit here in prayer for those lost and injured today at the Boston Marathon. The news is calling it a terrorist attack, which at this point seems accurate.
But as Christians, we should be prepared for one of the hardest questions we have to face when these types of things happen: Where was God?
This past Sunday at church we met a young law student who made the point that countless others have considered: Eric told us that he just couldn’t believe in a God that is supposedly loving yet allows the suffering that happens in the world. I know right now many in America and elsewhere may feel the same way as Eric.
So where was God when those bombs exploded? Let me start by telling you where God was before the bombs exploded. He was screaming at the top of his lungs at the person or people planning this heinous act and telling them not to do it, warning them He would judge them for it. So is that like the UN sending a rogue nation a strongly-worded letter in the hopes of getting their attention? Perhaps, but let’s explore who God is and who He is not.
The expectation is if God were reasonable, He would swoop down and stop people from killing, raping, abusing, terrorizing, and all the other things we deem as evil. Yet, we also think it quite reasonable that God not swoop down and stop us from any decision we want to make. Just stop the bad stuff – not the bad stuff I do, mind you – just the really bad stuff.
Here’s where it is tough for Christians. Our God is a God of relationship and in order to have relationship you must have free will. Have you ever tried to control someone in a relationship? How did that work out for you? Were you the one being controlled? How did that feel? See, God knows that and He allows us free will to make any decision we choose, good or bad. Here’s the cavaet: We are responsible for our choices and will be judged based on them – every knee will bow at the end of the day.
Simply put, there is evil in the world. No, Satan did not blow up those bombs, but he sure did whispher the idea into the heads of his accomplices who did blow them up. And, those responsible ignored God’s call to turn from their evil act and instead acted against God in their free will, killing two, maiming a dozen, and injuring scores more.
Is if fair? No. Is it God’s fault? No. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of those who set off the bombs. Nobody else. They chose evil over God and many suffered for it.
So where was God today? Was He in Boston? Yes, he was in the hearts of those racing to help strangers and save lives. He was holding the hands of those in pain waiting for help. And, yes, he was with those as they perished, comforting them. And he will be with the families and the rest of the nation if we choose to let Him in.