My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (Ps. 42:3)

I have the honor of pastoring an incredible group of people. About half of our congregation is made up of college students from the University of North Carolina. Many of them are wrestling with cosmic questions of faith. One of the most persistent questions they ask me is, “Where is God in tragedy?” It’s an important question. And for some, it’s a crippling one. If God is omnipotent and good and loving, then how do we explain pain and suffering and tragedy?

Where is God in tragedy? The Gospels offer an unexpected answer: God is with us. He is not distant from the pain and heartache of this broken world. Instead, in the mystery of the incarnation, He enters into it. God becomes a victim of violence, a target of tragedy. Taking on himself all of the sorrow and brokenness, He becomes our hope. He came into this violent world as a vulnerable child. He entered into our broken world to be broken by it—and so to redeem it. Into this deep and despairing darkness a light is dawning. With courage we anticipate the day when Jesus our hope will return to heal every hurt, to bind up the brokenhearted, and wipe every tear from our eyes. He will swallow up tragedy in a tide of swelling redemption and enduring hope.

Discover God’s presence in your pain.

Matt LeRoy is coauthor of The Way Forwardand Awakening Grace(WPH).