(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
As Americans throughout the East Coast reel from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the question many victims and viewers are asking is "Where was God?"
It's what many people ask in their hearts following a tragedy. Best-selling author Max Lucado sought to answer the question Tuesday as some 8 million people were left without power and at least 50 people were found dead.
"What we have seen off America's eastern coast, the disciples saw on the Galilean Sea," Lucado stated on his website.
An account in the Gospel of Matthew tells of Jesus' disciples facing a storm while on a boat in the middle of the sea. Jesus had told them to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side while he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Where was Jesus? "Praying," Lucado wrote.
"Jesus made intercession His priority. Did He know about the storm? Could He feel the winds? And see the thunder? No doubt. When He sensed the danger, He chose to pray.
"He still does. He offers unending intercession on our behalf."
Lucado quoted Romans 8:34 (in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us), saying, "He prays us through the storm."
Also, just as Jesus walked on water to meet the disciples, Jesus also "meets us in the storm" at the right moment, said Lucado.
"He is doing the same at this very moment. Through the steady hands of first responders. The compassion of physicians. The kindness of neighbors. The generosity of people like you. We see only a small portion of His activity. But we know this: He still steps into the super-storms of life," he wrote.
Sandy struck the East Coast Monday night, battering the Northeast with strong winds and flooding.
"We are in a state of crisis all across this state," Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker told CNN on Wednesday. "It's going to be a challenging time."
Sandy is estimated to cost at least $20 billion in damage, though some place the estimate much higher.
President Obama approved major disaster declarations for New Jersey and New York, making additional federal support for state and local efforts available, as well as direct federal assistance to affected individuals in declared counties.
"All of us have been shocked by the force of mother nature," said President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
"It is not going to be easy for these communities to recover."