Where is God in Tragedy?

In the aftermath of Newtown Connecticut and other tragedies of loss and violence there are always words shared trying to find comfort, meaning, and sense in a comfortless, meaningless, and senseless act. Words are often shared with those who have lost loved ones by well-meaning and faithful people who want to say “something,” I can appreciate and understand, I have done it myself from time to time without thinking of how the words might be heard and received. In my experience there are times when those words can ring hollow and only deepen the experience of pain and emptiness. In those moments I have found less is always more. Presence, care, compassion, and service are almost always more helpful than words of attempted explanation. Rather, be there for them, tell them you care, do something good for them.

What I do not understand is how a person like Mr. Huckabee, who is a pastor would go on a national news program and imply that God was involved either directly, indirectly, or because God was “ordered” out of our schools. The idea that we or anyone else could “order” God, in whom we live and breathe and have our being, according to Paul, out of anywhere is absurd at best. To claim we as a Nation have removed prayer from school is simply untrue. Student led prayer and individual prayer have never been removed from school. The only prayer removed is my making you pray with me. That being said, our schools are in place to serve all of our citizens, those who pray as well as those who do not, and our government is called to the same purpose, Mr. Huckabee knows this. As I read his statements, they are not statements of faith; they are statements of politic and fear, certainly not about a God of love incarnate.

In my opinion, to even imply that God had somehow abandoned those children and teachers and administrators and subjected them to bloodshed and violence is not only abhorrent to the Spirit and the God of love that should be especially celebrated this time of year, but would be the equivalent of theological malpractice and another way to victimize those who are suffering and mourning. God was there, huddled in the corner with the children, hiding in the closet with the teachers, present in those shielding the children from the violence, laying down their lives for the littlest of these, weeping with them and us, frightened by the violence, and crying out for help and hope. God is there in the concern, compassion, and outpouring of love and support for the community of Newtown and others.

We should be telling our children, our adults, our friends, ourselves, we are embraced in the very grace and Spirit of God who would never, will never abandon you ever, or do anything to harm them, ever. The children who have died, the children who are still here, all of our children have been frightened enough; they do not deserve to be frightened of God as well. They deserve to know they are cherished, embraced, and loved beyond measure by us, and by God.


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5 Responses to “Where is God in Tragedy?”

  1. chano Says:

    Kent the lengths with which our government and more so, the News Agencies, will go to Involve themselves and try to portray a sense of caring and action is appalling. There are times that Nothing, Absolutely Nothing can be, Nor Should be, said to someone that has suffered such an unthinkable event. There is nothing that I, or anyone can say that will ease the pain or relieve the suffering. As tragic as this is, how many thousands of other children die in equally horrific ways all over the world and no one in public office or in the media will even glance at them. In my opinion, it’s because there is no “profit” in those others. I just posted on the Fb page of CNN Headline news the following simply as my miniscule protest to the news organizations and the frenzy they create in their “search for news”.

    Robin, I’m so very sorry to report that I’ll no longer be watching HLN. I’ll also not be watching CNN, Or Fox News or Any other TV News orgs that are reveling in the horrible tragedy in Newtown. This, just like how many previous random killings, (you can fill in the locations and killers here), have been covered Endlessly and sickeningly at the expense of the victims and their families, only raising the names of the killers to Legendary status. All of these sad malcontents aspire to be like is someone like Lee Harvey Oswald so that their deaths are not the end of their memory. The salacious way the all the news organizations hover over the crime scenes and the families of victims and the townspeople is repulsive in so many ways. Now the self-absorbed incestuous group from Topeka, Ks are going to get in on the voyeurism here as well. In my opinion, the ravenous news organizations sick obsession with events like this are no better than them. The power of the presidency is Not going to solve this nor is any government agency, at least not in any sane, rational way. Those that commit such awful acts feel as if they are outside the mainstream and only a massive, heinous act will give their lives meaning. This is Only my opinion and not an educated assessment of the situation.


  2. Billie Says:

    Thank you, Kent.

  3. chano Says:

    So, our President is going to use the “full power of his office to make sure that this Never happens again”. Is it just me, or is this such a ludacris and unrealistic statement that I’m stunned that anyone would say it? I wish I could go back and pull the footage of all the tragic weather related events and insane instances of human carnage that have happened over the past years and see exactly what our government Promised that they would do to
    “Prevent This from Ever Happening Again. . .”
    Then the efforts to discover “what was the cause” of this? What made this kid decide to do such a thing? I genuinely believe that in this day and age, when all that really matters in our world is
    Money, Beauty, Power, Influence, Sex and Things. Anyone that doesn’t have these is Nothing and is No One. People in this situation are without value and without purpose. Useless. Unrecognized.
    But, a life can become memorable and forever infamous if a horrendous act can be perpetrated against others that become the focus of their rage. Other people that enjoy the very luxuries and comforts denied this individual. The answer is not in legislating guns and ownership of guns. The answer isn’t in More lock and security measures. Metal detectors and scaners and body x-rays won’t prevent an act of desperation like this. Additional guards and prisons and consequences will make no impression on the indivlduals that might act out this kind of frustration.
    Only a change in heart and in perspective can this problem be addressed. A person feeling desperate can only respond to hope and opportunity. How do we reach that? I don’t know. All that I can control is me and how I respond to the desperation around me.

    • Patty Meek Says:

      Chano, my sad heart took note of and benefitted from your response. Regarding “Only a change in heart and in perspective can this problem be addressed. A person feeling desperate can only respond to hope and opportunity. How do we reach that? I don’t know. All that I can control is me and how I respond to the desperation around me.”

      Do you have any tangible ideas as to those elements of hope and opportunity? I volunteer, teach, lead a youth-elder group at my church, etc., but I really missed the boat here – just wondered if you, or someone you know, has more effectively, lovingly, etc., provided the “hope and opportunity” that you mentioned.

      Patty Meek
      Englewood Colorado

  4. Kathy Souter Says:

    My heart is heavy when I think of the innocence and potential that was lost in Newtown. Like many, I am numb and overwhelmed….where and how do we start to make our country safer? I think it is going to take a change in culture. Until we can make our children understand the consequences of using violence to solve a problem or get attention, I fear we will repeat these tragic lessons until we learn to change..

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