Where was God?

Newtown, I just have one question today for our readers. Where was God? The shooting massacre we saw in Newtown, … Continued

Newtown, I just have one question today for our readers.

Where was God?

The shooting massacre we saw in Newtown, Conn., has been one in a number of too many atrocities like this across the country (not to mention the world.)

This one happened during the holiday season. It’s the end of Hanukkah and the beginning of the Christmas season. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

While most little children are playing with dreidels, eating latkes and jelly donuts, lighting menorahs, opening presents, writing letters to Santa, dreaming of sugar plums dancing in their heads, trimming the tree and singing carols, 20 little children are dead, gunned down by a young man..

President Obama was weeping.

“The majority of those who died today were children,” he said Friday. “Beautiful little children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own.”

Exactly.

Why did this happen? Who thought this was a great idea. Was this really God’s plan for these children, for the shooter, for his mother, who he also killed along with six other adults?

“May God bless the memory of the victims,” said the president, “and in the words of scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.”

But why would God bless the memory of the victims when the all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God made this happen? Why would he then want to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds?

And if he isn’t any of these things why do we thank him, pray to him, ask him to bless these children. Either he is or he isn’t.

The atheists would say there is no God. So what’s the question? There is no reason for any of this. There is no meaning.

Believers will say that God works in mysterious ways. We cannot know God’s mind. We can only trust that he knows best and that he does have a plan. They say we will learn the cause of suffering and evil in the next life. All will be revealed to us.

That wouldn’t be much of a consolation for me if it were one of my children gunned down today, right before one of the holiest days of the year for Christians, the birthday of God’s only begotten son who died on the cross for our salvation.

These children didn’t get salvation. They got death. Maybe in another life they will but that may not be enough of a consolation for the parents.

Apparently rabbis and ministers and priests were called to the scene. One Catholic priest was interviewed on TV the night of the shooting. Sobbing, he said, “What can you say? There are really no words. … It’s surreal. … These are 20 people the week before Christmas who just lost their joy. How do you deal with that?”

There was a memorial that night. And there will be many services at local churches and synagogues in the next few weeks.

What will they say? Will they ask God why this happened?

If any of our readers has the answers please let me know.

Related content on On Faith:

* Kaur: Journey from Oak Creek to Newtown

* Graham: Why the shock and awe?

* Huckabee: Sandy Hook shooting not surprising after God ‘removed from our schools’

* Pace: Comfort the grieving

* Stanley: In tragedy we grieve; in God, we hope

* Thistlethwaite: God weeps: 27 children, staff killed in Conn. school shooting

* Md. pastors were searching for solutions even before mass shooting

* Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shocks a nation

About

Sally Quinn Sally Quinn is the founding editor of OnFaith.
  • cfrost1

    One might ask where God was from 1914 to 1918, or 1939 to 1945, or on plenty of other occasions. The guy just leaves the office to play golf a lot I guess.

  • jpg1979

    As an atheist, I would clarify one thing about Sally’s article, and that is that atheists do not believe that there is no meaning in life. There is plenty of meaning in life; the fact that life is finite makes it all the more meaningful to many of us.

  • grampa

    When believers say that tragedies like the Newtown massacre happen because “God works in mysterious ways,” they are showing their desperate confusion by descending to the lamest possible excuse. Other believers, like members of the Westboro Baptist Church, tell us that God deliberately sent the shooter to take his revenge on us for being sinners, an explanation so revolting that almost all believers and non-believers turn away from it in shuddering disgust. The non-believers are no less moved by such a tragedy but do not look to a god for either blame or balm. Their explanation that tragedies happen because people or natural forces make them happen, with no supernatural intervention, might not be satisfying to those who crave a divine answer, but it fits all the available facts and it correctly predicts that, in the absence of greater emotional maturity on the part of the human race, we will allow such things to happen again.

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