Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where Was Your Fucking God?

"Where was your fucking God when those kids were being shot up?" I was asked this question this week in reaction to the shooting in Connecticut. Behind the question was much anger. Behind the question was sadness. Behind the question was a lack of faith and frustration. Behind the question was a human being, hurting and feeling just like all of us. I can imagine that many pastors would dismiss a question like that. Many would receive this as a personal attack or an attack on Christianity. Some might be offended by the language and refuse to acknowledge the emotion. Some might become angry and launch a counterattack, spouting various scripture verses that give the typical "Christian" answer. I felt none of this. For in my friend’s pain, anger and helplessness, I felt the same things. So, I chose to "feel" with him. 

"I don't have an answer for you. The world is a fucked up place." was my response to him. I shared with him that my faith has been shaken. I shared with him that I was angry as well and asked God the exact same question. He didn't need a theological dissertation and didn't need me to regurgitate Bible verses that gave him no consolation. He didn't need me to get angry with him and he surely didn't need me to judge him. He didn't need me to ask him to watch his language and didn't need me to negate what he was feeling. Like any of us who witnessed the horrors of Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, he was angry, sad, discouraged and experiencing doubt. His feelings were real. They are real life. 

In my heart, I know where God was last Friday. I know that He exists and why these things happen. I know all the verses that theologically make sense of these events and I have a good idea of how this world works in relation to God. In reality, I know that these kinds of things have happened in the past and will happen again and again. And I know that every time they do, we will feel the same emotions. My intention is not to give an answer for why bad things happen. We've all asked this question, and in reaction to the events in Connecticut, many people have written blogs and posted ideas of why this happened and what the solution is to avoiding tragedy like this in the future. My intention is that as a follower of Christ, I want to be more like Him. And in my reflections on who He was and who I think he is, I ask myself the cliche question, "What would Jesus do?" Since I am not Him and he is just as much a mystery to me as He is my God, I can't answer that completely. What I can say, with 100% assiduity assurance?, is what Jesus would not do, and have an idea of what He might do instead. 

Jesus would not allow the events in Connecticut to make Him angry with people and their reactions. Instead, He would weep with those who are weeping. Jesus would not shut down and retreat Himself from the world, but would surround Himself with others that felt pain as well. Jesus would not choose to contradict Himself and encourage more violence, but would repeat His call for us to love our enemies. Jesus would not choose to hate the gunman, but continue to hate evil as He encourages all of us to do. Jesus would not choose to point His finger at others in blame, but would ask us all to point the finger at ourselves. Jesus wouldn't react in fear, but would trust in His Father in heaven and encourage us to do the same. Jesus wouldn't arm Himself, and He wouldn't judge someone if they did and would understand their fear. He wouldn't criticize gun control advocates, but would encourage them to make their points known with love, not anger. He would not blame the problems of the world on a lack of prayer in school, but ask parents why they don't pray at home. Jesus wouldn't play politics, but would remind us promote His Kingdom, where politics will not exist. Jesus wouldn't ask where His Father is or why He has forsaken the world, but would respond as He did when He faced torture and death; "Thy will be done."  

"Where was your fucking God?"  He was in a first grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary, taking bullets from a semi-automatic gun while embracing scared little kids. He was also with the children in thousands of other schools protecting them. He was preparing parents for overwhelming pain and He was giving courage to first responders. He was also with parents that were thanking Him that their children were safe. He was watching in shock, as we all began to realize the magnitude of this tragedy and He was welcoming those that died into His Kingdom. And He was with those who had no idea what was happening. He was weeping on the streets of the inner-city where other children were being shot and He was in poverty stricken places of the world where children are starving to death. He was also with those enjoying a late breakfast or early lunch. He was with you and me. He was with our children as well. He was there. He is there. He will be there.