January 30, 2010

Mad at God about Haiti? OK.

Lately, I have rolled across blog postings in which writers have expressed their anger towards God about the disaster in Haiti, the seeming endlessness of suffering there, and the failure of the world community to get effective aid on the ground more quickly.

When something is not right, isn't it human nature to find someone (often someone else) to blame? Blame must be assigned, because without blame, we have no rationale for why so much of the world appears to be on the very edge of total self destruction.

Those who are angry with God about Haiti could just as easily be angry with God about the Congo, the Sudan, the internal conflicts in Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel-Gaza, the Mexican drug wars, the worldwide AIDS pandemic, the droughts, fires, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc., that mark modern history. Feel free to grab an encyclopedia or google the historical list of wars and natural disasters if you want a longer or more complete list.

What all of the complaints seem to boil down to is this: "God--why don't you make people do the right thing? Why are you allowing these injustices and misfortunes? Why didn't the governments in SE Asia have the tsunami warning systems online so that lives could be saved? Why does Haiti continue to exist as such a horribly poor country in the midst of the relatively affluent western hemisphere? Why? Why? Why?" It could go on and on.

Dear questioner, are you really asking why doesn't God force everyone to do the right thing so that no one has to suffer the ill effects of the wrong thing? Perhaps I could bring the question a little closer to home and ask God why am I not always forced to do the right thing?

God is not in the forcing business. That's why you and I and all of the rest of the world continue to make the large and small mistakes we choose to make, even while we live in the very presence of God. As C.S. Lewis wrote, God woos, but does not ravish.

So, we are all allowed to make our mistakes and live with the consequences of those mistakes. God does promise, however, to come and live with us in the midst of our messes. He promises to comfort us and show us the way out. That is love, and that is what we are offered. We can accept it on God's terms, or we can stay angry about why God doesn't crush our wills (against our will) and make us do what we neither understand nor appreciate.

Mad about why the world is the way it is? Understandable--because don't we all know how many times each of us has made a mess because we didn't do the right thing? Mad at God because He won't force us to be something we're not? Well, you might want to rethink that.

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