I haven’t had much time to blog as I have been traveling the last couple of days as we visit my parents in Tennessee. I therefore direct your attention to a very fine post on another blog. Asking where God was when children and their teachers were being gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mayim Bialik reminds us that Elie Weisel wrestles with exactly this question in his masterpiece Night.
Here’s how Bialik applies Night to Sandy Hook, along with her moving conclusion:
In one of the scenes of the book (which is not autobiography, but is fictionalized memoir), a young angel-faced Jewish boy is hung on the gallows in the center of a concentration camp for the crime of simply being Jewish. Where was God? Wiesel states that God was hanging on the gallows.
The literary reference was to Jesus, and was made for the benefit of the Christian audience who would read his book, but the deeper meaning is that God is with us through every tragedy. God hurts when we hurt. God may not have eyes to weep, but God did not create us to kill and maim and gun down. God is here and there and everywhere. Always was, always is, and always will be. Period. God does not get to step in and save who we want saved, even if it’s small children in Sandy Hook who I wish could have been saved. We can’t understand God. That’s why God is God and we are not.
I cried on Friday. To see weeping children marching with hands on each other’s shoulders, parents screaming and clinging to children my kids’ age, teachers running on the hormones of survival and fear and pain and risking their lives for their flock. I cried bitterly and have felt kicked in the gut since then.
But God cried, too. And God is still crying. Through our pain and through our joy, God is always with us. Our challenge is to be comfortable in God’s silence, and to know that when we have shed all of our tears and are ready to start again, there is a Voice waiting to be heard that is always there.
Thanks to my friend Rachel Kranz for alerting me to Mayim Bialik’s blog and essay.