I was interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio program a few hours after the shooting. One of the questions I was asked was, “Where was God in all of this?” My answer was simple... God was huddled in the hallways with frightened students as they waited to see if they would be next in the line of fire. God was riding with wounded students to the hospitals, comforting them as they fought for their lives. God was strengthening the hands of the surgeons and nurses who worked feverously over the wounded trying to save their lives. God was comforting the distraught parents who were receiving word that their son or daughter wouldn’t be coming home again.

Job’s so-called friends who attended him after disasters struck were wise to “sit down with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great” (Job 2:13, NASV emphasis mine). It was after they opened their mouths that they got into trouble with God. They were anxious to help Job find the sin in his life that led to his condition. When God finally spoke, before He dealt with Job, He condemned the shortsighted, merciless attitude of his friends.

Once, while Jesus and His disciples were passing by a blind man, his disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” It seems the need to assign blame for tragedy is universal. How could these disciples stand there looking at the pitiful sight of a man struggling with his infirmity and instead of asking what can be done, they want to know who did what? We are guilty of the same attitude when we demand answers to a tragedy that defies logic or reason before we just sit down and weep. Jesus's answer was, of course, profound. He said, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:3-4 NASV emphasis mine).  The works of God that need to be worked at this moment are grace and mercy. Discernment and judgment can come later. Right now, we all need to just shut up and mourn.

The Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville College in Tigerville, South Carolina, Dr. Tony Beam received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and his Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Beam also serves as Interim Pastor at Whitefield Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C. and as host of Christian Worldview Today.