Faith,  Heart,  Soul,  Strength

Where is God When Tragedy Strikes?

Virginia Beach, VA

Friday, May 31, 2019, the Hampton Roads region of Virginia experienced a devastating mass shooting at one of the Virginia Beach municipal buildings. The senseless massacre left twelve dead and four others injured. If you’d like to read more about the tragedy and those who lost their lives, check out this article.

Non-Christians and Christians alike can wonder, “Where is God?” when an event such as this takes place. In our humanness it’s hard to understand why He would allow such preventable devastation. I’ve not experienced this level of loss and grief, but even in my comparably minor life circumstances, I’ve asked God “Why,” and “Where are You?”

I don’t have all the answers, and please don’t think I’m downplaying the pain of horrendous circumstances, but I’ve learned that no matter the trials that come, God is where He’s always been… on the throne. God doesn’t look at earthly events through the same eyes we do. He is sovereign and sees the big picture, the eternal picture, where we only see right now.

Another characteristic of God we need to recognize is His love. Because of love, He gives human beings free will. He could control every person on earth, every situation, and every outcome and completely wipe evil from the face of the earth. Why doesn’t He? Because His greatest desire is relationship with His people, and the foundation of relationship is love. True love isn’t forced; we must choose it. To choose good, right, and love, there must be bad, evil, and hate. 

I believe the sin in this world, and its resulting grief and suffering, breaks God’s heart. He isn’t happy about what occurred last Friday or the tragic circumstances of your personal story. He grieves with you. And because of His mercy and kindness, He uses everything Satan intends for evil for the ultimate good of His kingdom and those who love Him.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:28-29

Please understand that this passage in Romans doesn’t say that everything that happens is good. It’s not. Many terrible and tragic events take place, as we’ve recently been reminded. The apostle Paul tells us that all things “work together for good.” If you take another peek at verse twenty-nine, you’ll discover that God’s intention, what He’s working out for good, is for His children to be conformed to the image of Christ. This brings much glory to God, points others to Jesus, and builds God’s kingdom. This is our Father’s heart amid tragedy.

So, what do we do when tragedy strikes? I could give you my advice, but God’s Word is a better source.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

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. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I could go on and on posting one scripture after another that speaks to our pain and God’s comfort, but you can continue to search God’s Word for yourself. Use an online resource like, to find verses you can memorize and cling to when your faith is tested in the tidal wave of trial and pain. God is faithful, friends. Even when we don’t understand.

No matter what you’re going through, God is with you. Take time to listen to this song and be reminded that you are not alone in your pain.

Join the conversation. What has bolstered your faith when life circumstances have knocked you down? In what ways has God used you to comfort and build up the faith of others who are hurting?

Share this post on social media to encourage others who are hurting.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Lillian McFarland

    Thank you-for your-positive post when tragedies and hardship happens; we learn just how comforting God’s grace and mercy is to help us to grief, trust and to move forward in time. “ With loving kindness have I drew you to me. Amen

  • Deena

    So true, Traci. Our God loves and cares more than we could ever comprehend. I’m thankful that you turned to Him during your darkest hour and found His comfort.

  • Traci

    When life hit hard in 2007, the ONLY thing that helped me survive was God and His Word.
    The ONLY thing.
    Even while curled up in a ball on the floor crying, I remember crying out to God, and feeling His presence.
    Friends quoting scripture to me and praying with me and helping me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.
    He cares. He cries with us.
    We cannot choose other people’s choices or paths, but we can be confident our God is present and His love for us is unending.