Skip to content

Where is God?

June 16, 2016

Where is God?

Each day, new details of the horror of the shootings in Orlando are revealed.  People across this country, really across the world, struggle to make sense of this senseless act.  We want desperately to find a reason – some cause to blame, some logic to what led to the actions of this one man on Sunday.  Yet we can’t find it.

And we are left asking God, why Why is this world a place where people shoot others out of hatred and fear?  Why do we as a society continue to live in violence?  Why are the differences we have with others so threatening to us?  We are surrounded by noise, by voices crying out, by our own questions, by a world that so often seems precarious and chaotic and far from God.  Where are you, God, in the midst of such terrible things?

Someone asked me yesterday, how can such anger and hatred exist in a person?  The truth is, we are all capable of great anger and great joy, and we live in a world where free will allows both.  Both extremes, when separated from God and God’s wisdom, can take us far from the heart of the message of the kingdom of God, of the peace and reconciliation that Jesus both lived and taught.  Still, we feel bereft of hope and help when such a tragedy occurs, and we search for God.

In the OT reading for the coming Sunday we find an insight about where God is in the midst of trouble.  Elijah has been contending with those who are at odds with God.  He has just taken on the prophets of Ba’al, and Jezebel has vowed to kill him.  Elijah is weary; he goes out into the wilderness and asks God to just go ahead and take his life.  He’s had enough.  But God has something else in mind and tells him,

“Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.  (I Kings 19)

Like Elijah, we are waiting for God, clinging to the promise that God will be present.  We look all around – in the noises and voices that surround us.  It seems as if the world is coming apart all around us – in the winds, the earthquakes, the fires that rip apart the peace we seek.  We want so badly to act, to do something.  Yet it’s in the sheer silence that we begin to hear God.

When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

In these days, let us be still for a moment, as Elijah was at the cave, and listen for the silence.  Silence does not mean God is absent.  We mistakenly try to find God in the noise, in the trouble, in the bad things that happen.  Yet it is first in the silence that we find God, in the silence that God is most present, in the silence where we can begin to truly hear.  Let us open our hearts and wait for a moment.

There will be a time for action.  God went on to lead Elijah to the next steps on behalf of God’s people; God will also lead us.  If we merely stop with offering our thoughts and prayers, it is not enough.  Yet this moment of silence, of hearing God, is the beginning of action.  Lest we step ahead without God, we must first listen to the silence, listen for God

From → On Faith

One Comment
  1. Thank you, Carol. Beautifully said.

Leave a Reply to Kathleen Scanlan Scott Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: