Friday, January 15, 2010

Where is God in Haiti?

After hearing Pat Robertson's vile characterization of the Haiti earthquake as a "blessing in disguise," it's refreshing to read a couple of theologically grounded and pastorally sensitive perspectives that don't commit Christians to believing in a sadistic God.

The first is the Rev. Craig Uffman's piece "Where Was God in the Earthquake?"

There are those who speak at such times of the omnipotence of God. Some will see this and all such natural disasters as evidence against the God in whom we trust. They will portray the earthquake as 'Exhibit A' in their case against our claims of a good and loving God.

Others will feel it necessary to defend the righteousness of God. Well-meaning Christians will rise to declare this disaster to be God's majestic will, a will wholly impenetrable to us, and they will cite our story of Job to warn us against efforts to comprehend it. And, sadly, other Christians also will rise to declare this disaster to be God's will, but, forgetting Job and distorting our story tragically, they will tell us precisely which group among us brought about the earthquake as punishment for their unforgivable sins.

Each of these do us a service, for they force us to give an account of our faith in God and to remember carefully the truths about God we actually claim. For the same question that moves these groups haunts us, too, as we see the tears of anguished, hungry, and orphaned girls and boys reaching their hands out to us: where was God in the earthquake? ...

As we participate vicariously in the tormented tears of young girls, lost and alone in the Haitian darkness, as our hearts pour out tears for the thousands of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who have died so suddenly and shockingly, and as we turn to our task of being the loving and living hands of Christ in response to this tragedy, let us never forget the urgent truth about God that it is our vocation to proclaim: God does not will our sickness or our death; God does not will that evil be done; God has conquered evil and death through the Cross. This is the meaning of the empty tomb. This is our Easter faith.


Read it all.

Then there are the following brief thoughts from a piece Fr. Stephen wrote on the blindness caused by sin:

We are living through another week in which natural disaster provokes many to say, “Where is God?” Of course, many who will now ask, “Where is God?” said nothing the week before when Haitian children were dying of a hosts of curable and treatable illnesses and circumstances. The Christian answer to the question, “Where is God?” is “He is everywhere present and filling all things.” God is in Haiti: in some cases crushed beneath stones and in other cases removing the stones from those who are crushed. But it is doubtless true that there is more there than meets the eye. What we think we see is not all there is.

Read it all.

Continue to pray for the people of Haiti. And consider making a donation to the Haiti Fund administered by Episcopal Relief and Development.

4 comments:

Matt Gunter said...

Bryan,

The excellent reflections you've posted under my name are actually those of Craig Uffman. I am happy to be confused with Craig who is a friend, but he should get credit for what he has written. My own reflections on the topic can be found at:
intotheexpectation.blogspot.com

Thanks,

Matt

Bryan Owen said...

Wow, that's quite a blunder on my part. Not sure how in heck that happened! But thanks for flagging it so quickly.

And thanks for sharing the link to your piece on this. It looks like a fine piece.

The Archer of the Forest said...

The question I like to pose to people who ask that is, "Where were people before the earthquake?"

Haiti was in abject poverty. Children were starving. And no one cared. Curiously, an earthquake suddenly makes them care.

Just Me said...

Thank you Archer. I have thought the same. It truly is my greatest prayer that the Lord turns this horrific tragedy into one of His great miracles.