God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. – Psalm 46
Throughout the forty days and forty nights that I lay prostrate before the Lord when the Lord intended to destroy you, I prayed to the Lord and said, "Lord God, do not destroy the people who are your very own possession, whom you redeemed in your greatness, whom you brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. - Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5
A few years ago I knew a little boy with a brain tumor. As we learned about the problem and how dire it seemed, my prayers quickly changed from, “God, please,” to “God, don’t you dare!” Today I still know that little boy with the brain tumor. It seems to be perfectly contained and not a problem at all. I thank God and praise God constantly for this miracle.
But Japan? This is just too much. Last night I heard a story about how the tsunami wave stopped just short of one family’s house, sparing them all. Is this a miracle? How can it be, when over 10,000 people lie dead? How can it be, when the 50 workers trying to contain the nuclear reactor are very likely on a suicide mission? Is their nobility the place to put the spotlight? How much difference will it make in the end?
Some people with microphones and TV cameras are gleefully announcing that God wreaked this havoc directly. I disagree, as I think any sane person should. But sometimes God still feels complicit. In this world, anything goes … and today I question the divine wisdom in making so much space not only for our free will, but also for natural forces this overwhelming.
“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. is a song about unrequited love. Sometimes loving God feels like that: like, “God, I give my best for you, and then this happens?” The mood will pass. Beautiful, wonderful things will happen on earth and in our lives. But as is the case in any loving relationship, sometimes a lover feels desperate.