shit happens (pardon the expletive)
Having been off the grid for the past week, today I’ve been getting caught up on the happenings of the past days. Most notably of course is the earthquake in Haiti. Haiti has long been on my heart, a place that I’ve studied and prayed for, a place that I’ve always wanted to go. More than ever, that desire exists in me today. I’ve read the news reports about mass graves and food shortages and orphans and my first instinct is to jump on a plane and head for Port-au-Prince. I only wish that I had some medical or disaster training and could be a true help to the people and not another encumbrance. So to cope with the realities of the tragedy and my not being able to help, I find myself doing what I know how to do: talk.
I read a blog today that I frequent, by Eugene Cho, a pastor in Seattle. You can read the full blog here. In it, he was describing a letter he received from someone asking advice on what to tell people about the goodness of God in the wake of a tragedy such as the earthquake. These types of questions are obviously prevalent after occasions like this (I’m thinking the 2004 tsunami, Katrina, etc, etc…). A long discussion ensued in the comments, but I decided I needed to freely share my thoughts here.
As far as I can tell, from what I know of the Bible and my experience with God, we brought this on ourselves. Humankind chose deliberately to step outside of the loving and kind boundaries setup by God in the Garden. This set into motion a set of consequences that we are still feeling today. We brought on the chaos and confusion of the world that we know today. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes (poorly named “acts of God”) are in fact a result of the fall of man.
Shit happens. The fact that it does does not negate the goodness of God or His justice and mercy. He has done everything to fight on our behalf, to continue to woo mankind back into relationship. He has made a way for things to be right and good. Out of His kindness, he laid out a path of truth, like lamps, lighting our way, so we don’t have to hit our shins on the bedposts of life. This is the God who created life and then came again to show us once more what that meant. This is not a god who idly sits by and watches while destruction occurs. This is a God who weeps and mourns for life lost, and holds the hand of the orphan and widow. This is the God that I know. Who aches for His friends that are in pain. Who desires to bring comfort and restoration.
I know that this post may sound forceful and sure. I don’t want it to seem like I think I know all the answers. God and I both know that is far from the truth. I have struggled with these questions and I know I will continue to. But I have learned that just because things are still in progress, doesn’t mean I can’t hold on to what I do know. That my God is good. And that I don’t fully understand the extent of that goodness.