As the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security sift through the collateral damage in Boston, one thing is abundantly clear: it was an act of terrorism. Questions, like who is responsible and their motivation, remain to be determined. Along with those questions, one cannot help but ask where God is during events like this.
It is a fair question. I've asked it myself a time or two; especially after losing my husband some years back. There is something about death that shocks the rest of us into reality. We want answers...we need answers. We need to know that somehow in some way the pain we are feeling in that moment is of some significance to someone, somewhere in the universe.
Meanwhile, the clock's pendulum swings, the sun rises and falls, the seasons change and life moves forward...whether we like it or not. At some point along this pain filled journey we call grief, we wonder where, exactly, was God during our time of suffering? Did he hear our cries? Did he see our pain...or was he too preoccupied with bigger concerns to notice?
We cast blame. We want justice. What did we do wrong? What could we have done better? Through the pain, we begin to understand how small we actually are... and how precious life is. We begin to recognize the reality of our own mortality. Like it or not, death is a reality for all of us. It comes for us many times when we least expect...and always too soon...in the blink of an eye or the blast of a bomb.
We must come to grips with the reality we live in a fallen world with all kinds of evil, and there's nothing we can do to separate ourselves from it. Whether we like it or not, the world is full of people who are bent on taking out their anger and frustration on the innocent. Take heart; the short time we spend on this planet is not all there is to living. There is a hereafter, so it might be wise for each of us to figure out where we are headed here after.
In the meantime, instead of focusing on all the evil which seems to permeate every crack and crevice of this planet, we must look for the goodness around us. Like in the marathon runners who ran through the smoke and risked their lives to help the injured and others who crossed the finish line and continued running to the hospital to donate blood for the victims. Where was God? He showed up in the form of first responders and everyday bystanders who applied makeshift tourniquets, carried victims, or simply prayed.
God gets it. He understands our hurts. He feels our pain, empathizes with us in our grief, and hears our cries - because He knows what it feels like to watch a loved one die. He's been there. So he cries along with us, reminding us along the way to breathe in... and breathe out... as we wait for history to finish the last pages of the story. Someday, we will look back at this brief moment we called life... and exceptionally bad days like Monday in Boston will somehow make sense ... in light of eternity.
Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.