I was expressing what a difficult time I've been having trying to process the unspeakable tragedy that happened in Connecticut on Friday to a friend of mine. She listened intently to my words as I talked about my fears, my sadness and my doubt.
The only thing I could think of was those parents who had to go home and face the bedroom that belonged to their slain son or daughter. Who had to go home to face the Christmas gifts they had already bought. The booster seat they had to take out of their car. The art work that still hangs on the wall. It's gut wrenching to think about. And selfishly, I can't think of these things without thinking about my own son and daughter, and how I would feel if they were taken from me.
This particular disaster has also caused me to wonder where God is in all of this. Where was He? Why didn't He stop it? Why didn't He do something? Anything?
My friend looked at me and said this: God was there.
I'm sure my face reflected what I was thinking: Really? Doesn't seem like it.
She went on to explain herself. Simply put, God was there. For every minute of chaos that was happening at that school, God was there. She said that people are not puppets on a string but rather human beings with a free will and the ability to exercise it as such. A free will to make choices. Even bad ones. He will not force people to do exactly what He wants. We have to make that choice on our own.
I've mulled over her words since yesterday. I still have more questions than I do answers. In my world, God should give free will to the people He knows will make good choices and take it away from those who will not. But, that would be putting God into a box that He doesn't fit into, and taking away His ability to work in people's lives in a personal and unexpected way, redeeming them out of the pit of despair that we find ourselves in when we cannot seem to find Hope.
I should know. I've been in that pit myself.
He is the source of Hope.