TITLE: Why, God?
By Lesley-Anne Evans
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For several months now, my church has been working on a very special project. Katrina House, our response to the overwhelming need created by Hurricane Katrina, was built and furnished by local people, on site, in the Trinity Church parking lot. It was a labour of love.
Last week, Katrina house left Kelowna destined for a family in New Orleans, when disaster struck. The convoy of trucks carrying the mobile home were caught in a tropical storm somewhere in the state of Kansas. Strong winds ripped one half of the house off the transport trailer, and smashed it to pieces.
When the congregation heard this news on sunday, there were audible gasps throughout the auditorium. I was one of those holding my hand up to my mouth in disbelief. Immediately the thoughts entered my mind, “Why, God?”. How could you have allowed this to happen? What now?
Have you ever shared thoughts like these? At times of crisis and at times of tragedy, these are often the thoughts and questions that assail us. Overwhelmed by the circumstances, we then give in to discouragement, despair, helplessness, and sometimes even depression.
Yet, others are able to walk through difficult times with conviction of purpose and strength of faith. Why is that? What makes some able to move forward while others don’t fare as well?
Perhaps it’s as simple and profound as a difference in punctuation in that first question that came into my mind. My first question assumes blame, and blame on the part of God in whatever wrong thing has taken place. My question demands a response from God, and believes that God has an answer that is somehow acceptable to me.
My question is a natural human response to painful life experiences. My question seeks a tonic to alleviate my pain. It is my heart’s cry for justice, for righting a wrong, for seeking an explanation for something that is unexplainable. But the murder of a child cannot be explained. An earthquake’s devastation cannot be righted, yet part of me desires this to be so.
In hindsight, I believe my words should have included both a question and a statement. Rather than “Why God?”, I should have said, “Why? God!”. While the inherent humanity of the ‘why’ question remains the same, it remains an unanswerable question. It does not demand a response. It does not blame. It acknowledges and verbalises the pain and anguish of the circumstance, and then chooses hope.
God expressed as an exclamation speaks of an uncommon hope. The hope of a God ... who is at once my heart’s healer, my peace provider, my future securer, my light, my salvation, my inspiration, my faithful friend. It holds boldly to the truth that God is in control and knows what he is doing.
Rather than question, I trust. Rather than blame, I accept. Rather than be devastated, I am empowered to reach out with this renewed hope and minister to the hurting ones. I am at once resigning myself to the existence and inexplicable nature of pain, yet passionately pursuing healing and hope.
God’s love is hope. And in time, God brings healing.
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