The news of the bombing of the Boston Marathon is both horrifying and shocking. What was to be a day of great joy and elation, quickly became a day of tragedy and unfathomable suffering. In an instant lives were forever changed or ended, and all the world once again must stand witness to another act of terror and tragedy inflicted upon the innocent.
It is perhaps easy for us to wonder where God is in the midst of all this. Particularly for those who are immediately affected by the events of this day. Like God’s faithful servant Job in the Old Testament story, our questions cry out to God, demanding a response: Where are you? Why do you allow this suffering to be?
To some it may seem strange, or even offensive, to ask God these questions. In fact, Job’s friends even pleaded with him not to question or challenge God. Yet it is important for us, as we find out in that great biblical story, to ask God these questions. To wrestle with God in prayer and to share with God our anger, frustration and sadness. In doing so, we allow God to meet us where we are at.
The events of today struck me particularly hard. As a runner who has run a couple of marathons, I know the great amount of work it takes to run such races. I know too the tremendous love and support that friends and family offer to those who run them. And most of all, I am deeply aware of the spiritual depths that all marathoners experience during the race, particularly as one approaches the final mile. For so many of those Boston runners, and their families, all of these experiences were taken away from them by brutal injustice.
As I reflected and prayed about today’s tragedy, I was reminded of a passage from Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).” While my heart and spirit may still question the reasons why today had to take place, I am reminded that although our lives may be wounded by tragedy, God is hidden in the mess of it all.