When I learned of the attacks in Boston on Monday, I sat down and pounded out a column full of anger and belligerence. The next day, my youngest child, Jenna -- after taking time to reflect -- sat down and penned the following words:
Where is God in the night sky?
Where is God in the city light?
Where is God in the earthquake?
Where is God in the genocide? -- Switchfoot
Where is God in the bombing at a nationally acclaimed marathon, attacking runners who have trained so hard for this moment and the family and friends who have come to support them? Where is God in the multiple terrorist attacks taking place in this nation and across the world? Where is God in the deaths of young children and the fear that has been instilled in the hearts of Americans?
Where is God in the flames consuming the roof of Oconee Street United Methodist Church at midnight Monday? Burning down the church that so graciously houses Action Ministries, an organization that feeds, houses and educates homeless people who will be left standing hungry on the streets tomorrow, with nowhere to go because the kitchen that offers them food and a safe haven each day is suddenly closed?
It is so easy to ask "where is God?" in these moments. I can't say it didn't cross my mind as I drove past Oconee Methodist Monday night and saw a group of church members staring up in sorrow as they watched multiple fire trucks battle the flames eating away at the steeple.
But then I thought about those firefighters, going into a burning church to discover the source. I thought about the videos I had streamed over and over at work, looping images of the Boston bombings and their aftermath.
And as I searched for God in these mental images, I began to find Him everywhere.
I found Him in those firefighters. And in Athens First Baptist, who stepped up to provide facilities. And in Chick-fil-A, which stepped in to provide meals. God is in the numerous generous donors in the area, who, because of their immediate support, already have meals covered for the next 10 days.
I found Him in the bystanders who fought their way against the mob fleeing the area, running straight toward the bombs, towards the smoking chaos and threat of more explosions, in order to reach those who were injured on the street. I found Him in the people who immediately joined alongside the American Red Cross and the National Guard to help the injured and secure the area. He is in the marathoners, who, after finishing the 26.2-mile course, continued to run the remaining distance to the hospitals to donate blood for the victims. God is in the hundreds of Bostonians who have so willingly opened up their homes and pantries and showers to meet the needs of victims and runners.
God is in you and me as we go to our knees in prayer, helping in the most powerful way we can from hundreds of miles away.
I've seen a wonderful quote from Mr. Rogers posted across social media in the past 24 hours.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in this world."
Recent events proved Mr. Rogers to be absolutely right again.
There are always helpers. And we can always find God. In every situation, no matter how big or how small. No matter how tragic.
We don't know what tomorrow holds, but may we always step up to help. May we always choose to love and shine light toward the darkness. May that light continue to drive out the darkness and may that love continue to drive out hate.
And may we always choose to see God's goodness and worship Him accordingly.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find. -- Matt Redman
Young people these days, right? I may actually be the second best writer in my family.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com. His daughter Jenna Huckaby is a third-year public relations student in the UGA Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.