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Where Was God?

“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
—Hebrews 13:5b

Not again … Not another national tragedy. Television reports use the term “Active Shooter” to announce another mass shooting. Like most of you, I was heartbroken to hear of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. 

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed after a gunman barricaded himself inside a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School and opened fire. The massacre took place on Tuesday, May 24, just days before the end of the school year. What should have been a time of celebration soon turned into one of grief and agony.

Parents gathered at the civic center on the night after the shootings to learn whether their children had survived. Some had the grim task of providing DNA swabs to help investigators determine whether their kids were among the victims. No parent should ever have to go through that kind of grief.  

The Elementary Shooting

My wife and I watched the news reports with shock and horror. We were both in tears. However, my tears turned to anger when an ignorant TV talking head made a stupid comment. He said, “Where was God while all these people were being slaughtered?”

“Where was God?” you ask. God was there. He was there with Irma Garcia. Irma, a teacher at Robb Elementary, pushed students on the floor. Then she embraced other children, using her body as a shield to protect them. God was there. God gave her the courage to use her own body to protect those precious children. 

God was there with Amerie Jo Garza. Two weeks before the shooting, Amerie Jo had her tenth birthday party. Her parents gifted her with a phone. God was there with Amerie Jo as she used her phone to call authorities during the shooting, and as she died trying to save her classmates. God was there.

God was there with Angel Garza, Amerie Jo’s father. Angel is an emergency medical technician who responded to the shooting scene. He treated a little girl who was covered in blood. The little girl told him that someone had shot her best friend. When Angel asked who her best friend was, the girl said his daughter’s name. God was with Angel as he provided medical aid to the wounded. He was still with Angel seven hours later when police confirmed that Amerie Jo had been killed. God was there.

God was there with Xavier Lopez. Just hours before, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez was lauded at Robb Elementary’s honor roll ceremony. God was with Xavier as he brought comfort to the dying. He held the hand of one of his classmates as she breathed her last breath before breathing his last. God was there.

God was there with Jayce Luevanos, age 10. Jayce and his cousin, 10-year-old Jailah Nicole Silguero, were inseparable best friends in life. Holding each other, Jayce and Jailah died together. They died just as they lived—together. God was there.

God was there with fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles. Mireles, who had been an educator for 17 years, also gave her life protecting her students. Like Irma Garcia, Eva Mireles put herself between the shooter and the children. God gave her the bravery to die saving lives. God was there. 

God was there with Eva Mireles’ husband, Ruben Ruiz. Rubin is a police officer in the district. He was one of several officers who responded to the shooting. God gave him the courage to stand down evil. Ruben was shot at by the shooter, but he was not injured. God was there. 

God was there with Nevaeh Bravo. He was there with Jackie Cazares. He was there with Jose Flores. He was there with Eliahna Garcia. He was there with Uziyah Garcia. He was there with Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, Tess Mata, Annebelle Rodriguez, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Layla Salazar, Jailah Nicole Silguero, and Rojelio Torres. God knew every name. He was there with all 21 who were killed. He was there in every desk and in every seat. God was there in the heart of each believer. He brought them comfort with the knowledge that their faith in Jesus Christ had saved them. He was there reaching out nail-pierced hands to pick up those who belonged to Him. God was there.

God was there with the survivors. He was there with the families and friends of those killed. He was there throughout the community of Uvalde, Texas. He brought comfort and healing. He brought a peace that passes all understanding. He brought Governor Greg Abbott the wisdom to say, “All we can do is lean on the Lord.” God was there. 

The Evil Shooter

The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, had an argument with his 66-year-old grandmother over Ramos not graduating from high school, during which he shot her in the forehead before taking her truck. He then crashed his grandmother’s truck through a barricade and into a concrete ditch outside of Robb Elementary School. According to police, Ramos was wearing a plate carrier—a type of tactical vest—without body-armor plates inside, a backpack, and all-black clothing while carrying a handgun, an AR-15–style rifle, and high-capacity magazines. A witness said Ramos first fired at two people at a nearby funeral home, both of whom escaped uninjured. He then shot and wounded a school district police officer who attempted to stop him from entering the building; afterwards, he dropped a black bag with ammunition inside and ventured further into the school where his rampage began. 

Someone said Ramos was plagued by “demons.” Of that, there is no doubt. What else but demons can explain such evil? There are demonic forces at work here.

Before the smoke had cleared, while there were still bodies in the halls of Robb Elementary School, politicians were on the air saying we need more gun laws. It’s not that simple. When I was growing up, everyone had guns. Kids came to school with loaded rifles in gun racks in the back window of unlocked pickup trucks. Gun safety was taught in my high school. Gun laws were few. We didn’t have background checks or gun registration, but mass shootings were very rare. 

Today, that’s no longer true. According to FBI statistics, from 1900 to 1970, America had 28 mass shootings. From 1970 to 2015, America had 273 mass shootings. The increase in shootings has happened despite many more laws aimed at restricting gun ownership. It’s not the guns. The problem lies in the human heart that the Bible tells us is desperately wicked. The problem lies in the devil who desperately wants to destroy us. 

The Expelled Sovereign

When I grew up, teachers regularly read the Bible and prayed in class. We started each day in school with the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Today, teachers can no longer lead prayer or read the Bible, even on a voluntary basis. One teacher was even disciplined for just having a Bible on her desk. Some schools have suspended students for bringing a Bible to campus. Christian after-school clubs are no longer allowed to be chartered. God has been expelled from school!

The Exact Situation

We don’t have a gun problem—we have a heart problem. We have allowed God to be expelled from school. We have removed God from our schools, from our homes, and from every aspect of public life. 

It is time to invite God back into America. It is time to invite God back into our schools. It is time to invite God back into our homes. It is time to invite God into our hearts.

I know God was there at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022. But I would like to ask a question to the television commentator who asked the question, “Where was God?” Where was God when Salvador Ramos brutally murdered twenty-one people? Where was God at Robb Elementary School? “Where was God?” you ask. 

Did you forget, He was expelled? 

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James Collins

James Collins is the former Staff Evangelist for Southwest Radio Ministries. He previously served in various pastoral positions in Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. Before being called to SWRC, James was a Chaplain in the United States Army and served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Inherent Resolve. He and wife share their home with three extraordinary children, three dogs, and a lifetime collection of books.

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