It’s the day after cyclone Yasi crossed the Queensland coast and so far I have heard numerous people give thanks to God for answering their prayers and sparing the people there from another major disaster.
Maybe God did answer prayers and maybe he did protect people in a way that we can’t see or understand. The devastation certainly wasn’t as vast as anyone expected and we’re all grateful for that. But it does raise a question doesn’t it?…
Where the heck was God when the floods poured through?!
Weren’t people praying then? Or didn’t we pray enough? Or maybe God didn’t listen on that occasion? Surely a loving God didn’t want all those people to suffer, or did he?
One wacky Christian minister has suggested that the floods were God’s judgment on Queenslanders for some of Kevin Rudd’s actions, (because Rudd is originally a Queenslander). Although this was the same man who bizarrely declared the Victorian bushfires to be God’s vengeance on the people in that state because of their government’s abortion laws. At times of great grief and loss these nonsensical equations don’t help anybody and only serve to distance people from more sane, faith based interpretations of events.
Whether we experience a natural disaster, or whether we experience a personal tragedy, it seems that we all grapple with the question of ‘what’s going on God?’ A few years ago my wife and I built an investment property and because of the overheated real estate market made an absurdly huge profit in a short period of time. Friends told us that God had blessed us. I would respond ‘Really? How do you know that?’ Now maybe he did bless us, but I can’t say for sure.
The funny thing is that two years later we lost all that money and more in the GFC as an unscrupulous company director pilfered our funds to prop up his other failing investments. We had a quarter of a million reasons to believe that God hadn’t blessed us this time, but funnily enough none of my friends were willing to suggest that God had cursed us or was punishing us. I had to chuckle to myself.
Of course what’s at stake here is who we see God to be and whether we can trust him with our lives if doesn’t intervene in our pain and suffering, be it personal or global, or if he does intervene but only at apparently random moments.
What kind of God is that?
Why don’t you chew that through and I’ll offer some of my own responses to that question in the next newsletter.