Where was God at the Boston Marathon?

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in We...

Where was Jesus when multiple bombs exploded along this year’s Boston Marathon route, shattering loved ones’ hearts and instilling fear into an already anxious culture?

Where was He ten days earlier when Pastor Rick Warren’s son took his life into his own hands?

Where was He during recent tsunamis, natural disasters, and cruel expressions of man’s inhumanity to man?

Where was He during your darkest hours?

Fortunately, the Bible is not silent on this desperate, all-important question. Two thousand years ago one of Jesus’ closest friends, Lazarus, died of an illness, and when Jesus arrived at the grave site Lazarus’ sister, Martha, greeted Him with the indictment: “If you had been here my brother would not have died.”

Martha’s bitter words were an ancient re-phrasing of our modern question: “where was God.” When Jesus responded to Martha He revealed how He might respond to us. When confronted with the question “where were you when we needed you most” Jesus responded in three ways.

First, He assured Martha that natural death and tragedy are not the ultimate trump cards. In John 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Second, He wept. He entered Martha’s pain and cried beside her at her brother’s tomb.

Third, He released God’s life-giving power, raising Lazarus from the dead and calling him out of the grave as a timeless picture of God’s final victory over death.

It’s impossible to adequately explain why God would allow so many senseless tragedies. However, through Jesus we know that God is neither indifferent nor inactive to our plight. He sees, He cares, and He offers an eternal life that is able to heal even the greatest of our earthly traumas. So while we ache, weep, question, and serve we also hold out hope for Jesus’ promised life.

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Do you see what you have or what you don’t have?

That's the name for this thing that you look t...

Where are you looking?

It’s an important question because where we look determines what we see, and what we see determines how we feel about our lives.

If we consistently look at what we don’t have our lives will be filled with discontentment, frustration, or regret. Conversely, if we intentionally look at all of the things we do have our lives will radiate gratitude, contentment, and peace.

I’m not suggesting that we stop reaching for greater influence or accomplishment or that we set aside our lofty aspirations and goals, I’m simply highlighting the power of our gaze.

Jesus said, “If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Mathew 6:22-23).

This truth was graphically illustrated when Peter famously walked on water to get to Jesus. When Peter gazed at Jesus the stormy Sea of Galilee became as rigid as a sidewalk, but when he shifted his gaze to the storm his world turned watery and weak.

Where we look determines what we see and what we see determines the state of our lives.

If we fixate on our lack we will conclude that we’re failing or falling short of success, but if we consciously look for God’s blessing in our lives we will see blessing, hope, and the promise of a potential-filled future–even if we’re living through a storm.