When there is a cataclysmic event in our history, it is only natural for us to talk about God. One thing is for sure, a natural disaster that takes out thousands of people in an instant brings our fears and doubts up to the surface. I have wrestled myself, just as I did with 9-11, with the Indian Ocean tsunami and various atrocities committed upon the innocent.
Over the last several days, I have read and heard many thoughts and opinions about God in relationship to the Haiti earthquake. Some have angered me, some saddened me, others have helped solidify my faith in the God I have known for the last 15 years. It is unfortunate that a few of the comments that angered AND saddened me came forth from the mouths of professing Christians. In particular, the misuse of scripture in to explain this situation, is upsetting. (Principle of interpretation: biblical hermeneutics, analogy of faith...context, context, context, people. Another post for another day....)
I wonder why so many people abandon any notion of God, why they become so hostile, why they are so confused, why they, and rightly so, want "nothing to do" with the God many Christians proclaim. I am not speaking of being perfect here. None of us are, but it pains me deeply to know the Person of Christ intimately and to see Him dragged through the mud by religious people who do not know the Word. They do not understand who God is at all. They do not understand because spiritual wisdom is imparted by God, not my reading the bible alone and thus applying your own bent according to your own self. They live under the law (failingly, I might add) and insist everyone else suffer the same misery. Though in Romans 2 Paul speaks specifically of Jews who teach the Law of God to others while breaking the Law, I cannot help but think of many current day Christians when I get to verse 24:
"The Name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you."
Paul refers to the Gentiles here as those who did not have the knowledge of God. Because of our unwillingness to walk the walk, people who aren't there yet reject God. This is the trail of deadness left behind by the religious. Make no mistake. The mark of a christian is love manifested in grace and truth.
Agreed, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is a God of justice. He is perfect. He is OTHER. He REQUIRES something from us. (Fancy that.. the Creator requires something of us. How dare He...) But He is also the personification of lovingkindness, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, grace and truth (Exodus 34:6-7.) Some go on to site the end of verse 7, and, yes, there are consequences for our actions, particularly in the family system. There is a principle of the generational curse. This is the way God made us. We cannot do what we want and think it has no bearing on anyone else. This verse is about relationship. And God is all about relationship. (Another topic for another post.....on another day.)
What I want to convey about the question and doubt over God in these times is that we live in a world that is winding down. We live in a place that is not Eden. It is not what it was meant to be. It is not the perfect Utopia we so cling to and long for it to be. There is a natural way of our fallen world (and its fallen inhabitants) that imparts suffering, death, pain. God in His sovereignty allows the natural way of the cosmos and then, amazingly, He meets us there, right where we are. He sees the big picture that we cannot see in our our finite minds no matter how we angle it.
Even now, in the desolation that is Haiti, God sends His provision, meeting needs both physical and spiritual, sending with those that go the message of hope in Jesus. I cannot recount the number of people who have said that it was in the pain and loss of their lives that God showed up. I know it to be true in my own life. He brings beauty from ashes and life where there is death. He is at home with the suffering (look at the Cross.) It is His character, who He reveals Himself to be, that is the basis for how I see the world. I do not look at the world and so assess God according to my own limited understanding, putting myself in the position of God (which we prefer to do, honestly. Easier. Much more control. Less frightening. yes?) And I certainly do not make judgements about the spiritual state of others and Gods' dealings with them...Pat Robertson.....moving right along.
My understanding of the "whys" is limited, but I know that I know what God is like and I am so, so grateful that He is that way....and not at all like Pat Robertson says He is.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts."
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways."
(As an aside, for those of you who aren't sure about God, please, please pay no attention to the "Pat Robertsons" of the world as a reflection of what a christian is. You don't want to be put in a box, so please don't write every christian off because of poor behaving high profile figures claiming the name. I am really tired of that. It is like saying "I don't like Wendy's" and then so deciding all restaurants are bad.)