Bob Tamasy: Where Was God?

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

On April 15, the Federal income tax filing deadline, the adage, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes,” took on terrifying new meaning. The bombings near the finish line of the revered Boston Marathon took several lives and maimed many others, shattering a popular – and traditionally joyous – community and regional celebration.

The fact one of the victims was Martin Richard, a bright, engaging, eight-year-old boy, barely on the cusp of a promising life, made the sinister plot to cause pain, mayhem and devastation even more horrific and incomprehensible.

Initially, thoughts centered around who had perpetrated such a criminal act – and why. But inevitably the question arises: “Where was God?” Or as others might phrase it, “If God is so good and loving, how could He allow such a terrible thing to happen?”

Similar questions arose in the aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 children and six adults were killed; after terrorists commandeered the jets on Sept. 11, 2001, taking more than 3,000 lives; following the bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, when 168 people died, including 19 children under the age of six. And sadly, after too many other senseless acts.

So, where was God when these events took place?

There are many possible answers to this question, but I don’t believe we can assert He was uncaring, indifferent, distant, or even non-existent. In each case, He was there in the hands, arms and legs of the first responders who ran to assist the injured. He was there making certain the number of casualties was not greater. He was there in the eyes, ears, lips and embraces of people that offered listening ears, caring touches and compassionate words to all affected. And I believe He was there in ways we can’t conceive.

But there’s one aspect of the question, “Where was God?” that concerns me.

Let me offer an analogy: Picture a neighbor who makes every effort to reach out to you, offering friendship. He or she – or they – Invite you to their home for dinner or a casual visit. They extend kindnesses, like a freshly baked pie or cake, or volunteering their help. They happily greet you whenever they see you, but you consistently ignore them or look the other way.

You rebuff their every attempt to enter into your life.

Then comes a day when you desperately need their help. Perhaps your car has broken down and you need to get somewhere quickly. Or you have some kind of domestic crisis. Then – and only then – do you acknowledge their existence. You go to them, soliciting their help. How would you reasonably expect them to respond?

Now imagine God being that neighbor. For decades we have systematically schemed to exclude Him from every aspect of our daily lives – schools and centers of higher learning; public facilities; sporting arenas; hospitals; governmental and civic events; the media; retail stores, insisting on “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” In some communities, freedom to conduct Bible studies in private homes has even been challenged.

The omnipresent God cannot be evicted by legislation or mandate, but He’s graciously withdrawn His restraining presence. Perhaps He’s said, “OK, if you don’t want me around, I’ll stay out of your way. See how that works for you.”

When things are going well, no problem. We don’t even sense God’s absence, His lack of involvement. We don’t need Him. But when calamity strikes, we suddenly wonder, “Where was God?”

I’m not suggesting in any sense that God orchestrates such heinous events. Or that His faithful followers are somehow immune from life’s calamities. But we shouldn’t be surprised when, after deliberately seeking to eliminate Him from our everyday lives, He doesn’t instantly intervene when evil intentions become evil actions, resulting in intense pain and suffering.

The Bible describes God as “my hiding place and my shield” (Psalm 119:114). Another passage views Him as “my fortress and my deliverer…my rock, in whom I take refuge…my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).

Our nation was founded with reverence for God – and awareness of His protective powers, as described above. But in today’s “enlightened, progressive” thinking and philosophies, our society has chosen to dispense with that. Proverbs 29:18 states, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.”

If that’s true, should the chaos surrounding us be such a great surprise?

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.)


Scenic City Women’s Network Prayer Walk/Vigil For Chattanooga Will Be Aug. 6

Scenic City Women’s Network will hold a Prayer Walk / Vigil for the city of Chattanooga and the families of the fallen servicemen in the recent Chattanooga shootings.  The event will be held at two locations on August 6, at 6 p.m.  Locations include the River Park off Amnicola Highway at the concession area and Grace Works Church, 6445 Lee Hwy. "Everyone is invited ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: Life Through The Lens Of A Camera

“Life is like a camera: Just focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives,  and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”   Reading this post on Facebook, I resonated with it because that’s been my experience, both behind the camera and in life.  It’s no secret I love to write. (Actually, like many professional writers, ... (click for more)

Abdulazeez Apparently Went Target Shooting In River Gorge Area Prior To Rampage That Killed 5

A 24-year-old Hixson man who went on a rampage and killed five military personnel at Chattanooga apparently went target shooting in the Tennessee River Gorge area just beforehand. A Chattanoogan said he was canoeing the day before the shooting and heard Mohammad Abdulazeez shooting in the woods in a remote area. The man, who said he thought he was being shot at, looked ... (click for more)

Columnist Says Navy To Bring Charges Against Commander Of Chattanooga Naval Center Who Fired At Shooter

The Navy plans to bring charges against Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, who fired shots at a Hixson man who on July 16 rammed through a gate at the facility on Amnicola Highway and killed four Marines and a sailor, columnist Allen West wrote. He said he received a text message confirming the charges are imminent against the Chattanoogan, who is the father of six and who has acknowledged ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Fight For Lieutenant Commander White

The United States Navy has run a tight ship since it was founded in October of 1776. You’ll recall that was when Capt. John Paul Jones began to forge the steel with the words, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Some years later Adm. David Farragut etched himself into Navy lore when he cried, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Howell Forgy ... (click for more)