The following is from Easter Blooms in Newtown- why tragedy doesn’t have the last word by Philip Yancy in the April 2013 issue of Christianity Today.
. . . . “Where is God when it hurts? God is now in the church, his delegated presence on earth. Indeed the question might be rephrased, “Where is the church when it hurts?” In Japan I met retired contractors and construction workers who had arrived with the charity Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild houses swept away. ‘We don’t proselytize,’ one told me. ‘We don’t need to – the people know why we’re here. Just before handing owners the key to their new home, we ask if we can pray a blessing on the house. So far no one has turned us down.’
In Sarajevo an order of Franciscans has stayed behind to serve the poor and work for peace even as most other Christians have fled. In Newtown [Conn.] the Walnut Hill community has set up a reserve fund for future needs, such as providing counseling for the surviving children. ‘We’re not going anywhere,’ Clive [Calver] told me. ‘Our church is committed for the long haul.’
In New Orleans, crews from Texas churches still spend weekends rebuilding houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, long after government aid dried up. If the church does its job, people don’t torment themselves with the question, Where is God when it hurts? They know the answer. God becomes visible through God’s people, who live out the mission that Paul expressed so well: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4).'”