Skip to main content

where was God?

late last night a bus carrying vietnamese Christians from houston, en route to the Marian days festival in missouri, crashed in sherman, texas. so far fourteen people have died, many more seriously injured. our hearts break and go out to the families who have lost so much. looking at this from the outside, one would have to assume that if anyone would have God's protection against such a tragedy, it would be these people, on a religious pilgrimage. unfortunately it did not turn out that way. not even the most faithful of us can avoid random occurrences such as this.

the first thing many of us-- persons of faith and not-- will do upon hearing such terrible news is to ask "how could God allow such a thing to happen?" some may even conclude that this is further evidence that faith is a joke, and the Bible nothing more than a coffee table book of fairy tales. i can understand that. i myself have often questioned God when faced with grave injustices, whether personally or as a pastor. the languish of the human soul is natural and authentic. and God is certainly big enough to hear our outrage.

we can blame the bus company for its failures, we can question all sorts of things related to the accident. but none of that will replace the precious lives that were lost, and it will certainly offer no comfort to the grieving families. wrestling with human suffering is one thing that makes us human, and as i often say our faith never inoculates us from evil or suffering. God never promised a single person on that bus immunity from the stuff that haunts the rest of us. but God did promise to never leave nor forsake them. and just as the festival they planned to attend is a joyful event, so i know their joy now in the presence of God is infinitely more than we could ever imagine.

that may sound like a "pat" answer. this post may sound like a desperate pastor trying to defend God. neither is true. God does not cause tires to blow out any more than God causes storms to hit this part of the country or another, one person to drown while another survives, one plane to crash and another land safely. those ultimate questions are healthy and evidence of a growing faith-- faith without all the answers. sometimes all persons of faith can do in the face of catastrophic circumstance is to defiantly and confidently pray to a loving God whose heart is as shattered by the event as we are.

Comments

Amen and amen.
Anne said…
Amen.

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…