Where Is God When Terror Strikes?

Where Is God When Terror Strikes?

There are no limits or boundaries when it comes to the way terror is experienced in the world we live in today.

There are times when the small word is felt through war and conflict between nations. Terror can be felt as a reaction to mother nature in the form of an earthquake or hurricane. And then there are events such as what took place Sunday evening in Las Vegas.

I’ll be honest, because I am currently not watching television or spending much time on social media, it was about noon on Monday before I overheard a couple of co-workers discussing what had happened. It wasn’t long after when I received a text from one of our website’s managers, telling me he thought it would be a good topic for this article.

On my way home from work, I received a call from a friend of mine who is new to a personal relationship with Jesus. He was asking me how and why God could allow something like this to happen. He wanted to know my thoughts on how he should go about explaining the situation to his non-believing friends. I told him I wanted to spend some time in prayer before giving my response and that I would use this article as an opportunity to answer the questions he asked.

The truth is, I still have no idea how to go about giving an explanation. While praying before sitting down at my computer, I couldn’t help thinking back to the first time I had experienced the consequences to a similar situation. After the attacks on 9/11, the AmeriCorps team I was a member of was sent to Brooklyn to work one-on-one with children who had lost a parent in the World Trade Center buildings.

Remembering what I tried to forget

I was young and working with children was never something I had intended on being a part of. I can’t remember much of the brief time I was in New York. The work days were so depressing that it was when I first started drinking myself into a blackout on a daily basis. I didn’t want to remember anything. I still have no idea how a person is to go about attempting to comfort a person who has just lost someone significant in their life, due to an evil act by a person or a group of people. The average person will usually say something stupid, such as, “Everything happens for a reason and God is in control.”

While such statements may be true, I can tell you they don’t do anything for a third-grade girl who lost both parents in a terror attack when it comes to bringing comfort or peace of mind. Making comments like this even has the ability to confuse a person or leading them to hate God altogether. I am sure there are several people in Nevada with the same exact thoughts at this moment.

Sometimes we can’t help

I need to rant for a moment. Why, do we as Christians, think it is our responsibility to explain God’s involvement or lack of, anytime terror is brought into someone’s life? Why do we find it so hard just to say, “You know what, there is absolutely nothing I can say that is going to make you feel better. But, if it helps, I am more than willing to be the person you need to scream and yell at. I have no clue where God was or what He was doing, but I am willing to listen to anything you need to say, and I will pray for you until you are ready to pray yourself.”

If you are someone reading this for answers, I don’t have any. I’m no longer a betting man. However, I would bet that you are not going to notice any benefit from a prayer. Not right at this moment anyway. That would make being a Christian too easy and that’s not how Jesus told us it would be. The Bible tells us there will be times like this. According to Scripture, it’s going to get worse before it gets any easier.

I’m a member of a team of Christian writers. It’s not my job to guess what it is you want to hear. I’m not concerned with what is going to make you feel better. It’s my responsibility to point readers to the cross. I don’t know how to do that right now other than say I bet the Apostles experienced the same kind of terror when they saw the man they had spent the last few years of their lives following, hanging from a piece of wood with spikes in His hands.

All relationships have unanswered questions, even the one we have with God

Even Peter, the rock of the church, denied Jesus three times at his weakest point. I am pretty sure we’re allowed to question things ourselves. If what happened Sunday produces difficulty praying or trusting God, please contact me so I can pray for you. That’s really the only thing I know to say. If you have any questions, I’ll answer them the best I can. Please keep in mind though, all I know is what is written in my Bible. I have no idea what the shooter’s problem was. Why God didn’t do something to jam the gun is beyond me.

There is one thing I know for a fact. Somehow, some way, this event will be used for God’s glory. Yes, there are going to be many people who develop a resentment towards Jesus for this. However, just as many will use this experience as the defining moment when they finally start seeking God. That is there only hope for a feeling no one else can provide.

Written by Jeffrey Stevens

My greatest blessings and responsibilities in life are my wife and our children. I have a degree in theology from Aidan University and I'm the Founder and President of Gospel Grammar. My goals as a writer are to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and encourage them to live a Gospel centered life.

4 thoughts on “Where Is God When Terror Strikes?

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights about how sometimes there is nothing one can say to make it better.
    Just because I might have a way of being able to still connect to God in those moments, it has usually been because I brought my questions to God when I was wondering where he was. It is something we all must come to in our hearts for ourselves. The salve we can offer is that it is possible to still stay engaged with God through it.

  2. Well written, brother.

    One thing I’ve come to learn about disaster and chaos is that it comes down to the state of our hearts and it’s normally much greater than a one person issue…

    Let’s take the Old Testament and the many plagues, disease, wars, etc as an example. Many times we find the nation of Israel (as a collective unit) turned away from God; and in doing so, they experience the horrors which surface when we don’t seek Him with all of our heart, mind and soul.

    I think we can agree our country (as a whole) has turned away from the grace only found in Christ; plus, you’re right, prophecy tells us it will get much worse on earth before we finally see Christ’s return. Therefore, we will see much more heartache and pain until then. The only way we can hasten that return is to keep proclaiming His Name to all tongues and tribes while turning our individual hearts to Him!

    The other thing that came to mind is the discussion of what made Stephen go off the deep end (and yes I’m using his first name because, even though his actions were nothing but evil and hatred, he was stil made in God’s image)… In reminding ourselves that he was made by our Father, it helps us remember he wasn’t created to do these evil things; however, due to a hard heart and the whispers of Satan throughout his life, he turned down this treacherous road. Look at Judas for example… Christ knew all along Judas would be the one to harden his heart and taken Satan’s bait leading to Christ’s arrest and crucifixion.

    We each choose our actions and even when we choose the wrong path, God always turns them for His good in the end. We have to keep the faith!

    And lastly… we have to remember His ways are NOT our ways. We will never fully understand or think like God. After all, that’s why Satan fell from Heaven in the first place! We must continue to humble ourselves before our Creator, worship His sovereignty and know that He WILL take care of His children even if we can’t see it now.

    He’s faithful now and always. Be blessed!!!

  3. Difficult questions don’t have easy answers, and this is perhaps the midst difficult of all. Trying to answer the question in the shock of the moment or the emotional burden of the immediate aftermath is like trying to rebuild in a hurricane or before the water has receded. That doesn’t mean there aren’t answers to be had. Its just not the time for answers.

  4. A lot of truth here Jeffrey. Thank you for writing this. The section that I found to be the most profound is “Sometimes we can’t help” – As Christian’s sometimes, we feel the need to have all of the answers; truthful, we don’t and it is not our place to pretend to be God by knowing everything. Our job is to love people and pray for them during times like these. Thanks again bro!

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