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Finding God in a Tragedy

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, some have asked, Where was God? I can think of one answer.


The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, has caused a lot of soul searching. And one common reaction is anger. Not just at the shooter, or at gun manufacturers, or at the media, but at God. One tweet I saw that I can actually share (others are far worse): “I know God works in mysterious ways, but let’s be honest: This one’s a doozy.”

I don’t have an answer for why tragedies like this happen. But a quote that went viral across the Internet this week, from the late Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame, reminds me where to look when I’m searching for God in the face of terrible suffering."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."

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In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, one of those helpers was Gene Rosen, who saw a group of children huddling at the edge of his driveway. He asked them what had happened, and they told him about the horror they had just escaped. Rosen, a psychologist and a grandfather, invited them inside for snacks, warmth and comfort until their parents could be contacted.

After tragedies in the past, we’ve shared stories from some of these helpers, many of whom found themselves put in just the right place to offer aid. You’ll find them all over our site. Stephanie Cox. Sylvia Campbell. The people our reporter Jim Hinch met in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Or the small way the Today show’s Meredith Viera was able to help at Virginia Tech. These stories remind us that the worst of times often bring out the best in us.

We may never know why any person is able to carry out such an inexplicable crime. But we do know where to find God in such a sad, terrifying ordeal.

Look for the helpers.

Do you have a story about a “helper” that you’d like to share? Do you have a favorite story from Guideposts about a person who found themselves in the position to rescue, comfort, or heal after a tragedy? Tell us in the comments below or send us an email.

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Walking in Grace 2023 Devotional

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We wanted to let you know that we have changed the name of Daily Guideposts to Walking in Grace —(Don’t worry — we promise it is the ONLY change we’ve made!)

Walking in Grace 2023 is the perfect way to start or end each day, focusing on God’s love, and connecting you to a community of writers and readers. Each daily devotion will bless you with a short Scripture verse that draws you into His word, a true moving story about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope, and optimism, a short personal prayer that helps you put the day’s message to work in your own life, and a unique “Digging Deeper” Scripture for further reflection.

In just a few minutes a day, Walking in Grace 2023 will help you find the spiritual richness you long for in your life.

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