In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, we in the faith-based community often wonder how we can effectively minister to the victims, their families, and those around us. What can we say to provide comfort and hope? How can we properly communicate the love of God even in times when it may appear to be absent? How can we communicate that God is good amidst such suffering and pain?

Questions such as these are not an evidence of skepticism; they are questions that we all wrestle with. They are honest questions that deserve honest answers. There are three ways in which we can readily see God at work in times of tragedy. These three ways offer healing, hope, and the reassurance of God’s love even amidst tragedy.

 1. God was at work in the People.

As I watched the nightly news and saw the recording of the bomb going off, my heart swelled to see people, not so much running from the bomb blast, but running toward it. People-without regard for life or limb, without thought of self, without thought of the next blast going off-ran to help those who were injured. God was at work in those people who ran toward the blast to help. The rescuers were God’s hands and feet.

 2. God was at work in the Place.

It is never an easy thing to say, “It could have been worse.” Those words are of little comfort to those families and friends who have lost loved ones. Or, to those who were injured and lost limbs. Yet, those words do remind us of the restraining hand of God even during times of tragedy. It reminds of the fact that many more lives would have been lost had the bombs been placed at the beginning of the race. We can find comfort in knowing that God’s hand is always at work restraining the evil and ensuring the good.

 3. God was at work in the Pictures.

Of the many images I saw online regarding the Boston Marathon tragedy, two types of images stood out more than the others: People crying and People who were comforting those who were crying. Those images brought home the reality that God provides comfort not just through his word but through others (2 Cor. 1:4). Moreover, they remind us that God is intimately aware of our suffering and our need to be comforted (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, he provides others to share in our suffering.

Conclusion

We know that God is at work in the Boston Marathon tragedy. How? Because he is working through people like you and me. He is working through our efforts to comfort the bereaved, through our efforts to sympathize with those hurting, and through our efforts to pray for those who need it the most. Let us take time out this week to mourn with those who are mourning, to weep with those who are weeping, to comfort those who are hurting. Most importantly, let us take time out to reflect on how God is always at work even in the midst of tragedy.

How have you seen God at work in the tragedies you have experienced?