So where is God? He is in the prayer vigils. He is in the rivers of tears flowing from everyone affected. He is in the community coming together to offer support to the families. He is at work in the love and strength people are offering each other. God is with us.The Apostle Paul somewhat echo's these comments when he talks about his own trials:
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:6-11)Crisis, trials, hardship and suffering often brings out the best or worst in us. It amazes me how, as Paul puts it, light will shine out of the darkest places. Don't you just love the way Paul contrasts the attitudes of darkness and light. When darkness perplexes the Light in us does not despair. When darkness brings persecution the Light in us knows that He is with us. When darkness strikes us down the Light in us causes us to rise.
In my own painful journey I have had to deal with dark times of deaths, addictions and illnesses. I still often struggle with disappointment over health issues. Yet, in spite of my failings of faith, I still find that Light will arise in me ... it will lift me out of my despair and help me to see my life from a different perspective ... the Light will cause me to change and be more like Jesus ... yet this change often comes at a great price.
My prayer this Saturday for the families of Virgina Tech students is that Light will arise out of the ash heap of this tremendously sorrowful event. I join with many of you asking for His comfort and compassion to come through the community of faith in that college town. I pray that many would experience Emmanuel, God with us.