Feeble Knees

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I'm running out of things to say regarding the disasters that seem to be happening with increasing frequency around the world. Is this the beginning of sorrows that we've been warned about?

It would seem so.

I don't even know anymore what eschatology I espouse, but I do believe that human suffering and tragedy appears to be intensifying around the world. Some would argue that it's always been like this, the only difference today being the increased communications that make the news available to all of us instantaneously. We know about more disasters as they happen, making it seem like there are more disasters going on in the world.

Maybe. But my gut says the earth and all creation is groaning. And my heart wonders how long it and humanity itself can endure?

The death toll numbers coming out of Pakistan, Kashmir and India, like the Asian Tsunami, are mind numbing. The town I grew up in had about 36,000 people in it. Current estimates put the death toll in Pakistan over 40,000. It is unthinkable, and I cannot imagine the horrors the remaining survivors and rescuers are facing.

It feels trite and hollow to say "My prayers are with them..." It seems I keep having to say that over and over again this year - about the Tsunami victims, the Hurricane Katrina victims, the London bombing victims, the Bali bombing victims... the list just keeps going on and my heart aches.

It is times like these that I marvel that my faith in God's goodness does NOT fail altogether. It should be too easy to say "God where are you, why must these things be? What purpose is there in it? How can you allow this?" I don't know the answer to these questions. I don't know how to explain to you (or even myself) how I know that these things don't reflect God's character or feelings toward us. It doesn't even make sense to me, in light of all that is happening.

When faced with several possiblities, the truth is almost always the thing you wouldn't have believed. In the face of so much death and destruction, it is hard to imagine that the omnipotent God who set the world into being is NOT capricious and unmoved by our suffering. But I do believe He is touched by our suffering, that His grief, greater than that of any parent, is both incomprehensible and unfathomable. Somehow I think if we could know the degree of pain suffered by the Creator, we'd never accuse him again of being at fault, or being aloof, or being indifferent to His children - and so add to His pain.

Those who have lost loved ones, who are struggling to find answers, who hear only silence in response to their anguised cries, "Why God, Why?" are not wrong to question, and never should I or anyone else fault them for that. There seems no appropriate or sensitive way right now to suggest to such a person that God does still care, that He grieves too. So I'm just praying that in time the heart of God will be revealed to the widow, the widower, the orphan, the grieving parent. Praying that the spirit of God Himself will enfold them quietly, wordlessly, and carry, cradle them in deep in His Father's heart.
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