The Japanese earthquake comes on the heels of what happened in Christchurch, the floods in Australia and Afghanistan, and the devastation in Haiti. We sit in stunned silence praying for those who are suffering. Some (I wish most) go online and send some $$$ to our favorite aid group. And then we wait.
Some, I’m sure, point a finger to the sky and scold God. It’s understandable. When we are feeling circumstances are out of control we look for someone or something to blame. God is both available and convenient. Scolding God offers short term relief I suppose but lacks long term satisfaction.
Some others start paging through their Bible looking for prophetic linkages. They are certainly there for the finding but there’s something disconcerting about ‘end times’ fascination and conjecture in the midst of such deep despair and suffering. Those of us who are faith filled, but more cynical, can point to other times and places when the end was supposed to be near but here we are living as unraptured beings still. And we kind of wish the 'prophetmongers' would care more about what is right before us instead of always looking in the sky.
My take. Stuff happens. And bad stuff happens because nothing in this world is operating as it was created to be. We all feel the impact of a world racked by sin. We see it when nature turns a bit ugly, in fractured relationships, in gut-wrenching injustices both personal and systemic, in sickness and finally death. Some despair in the midst of this. Others look for God in the midst of it all and are encouraged to keep building the kingdom instead of shaking our fists at it.
Only a few days into Lent we get smacked upside the head by something ugly and gut wrenching. It should stir our hearts towards prayer and action. At least I hope it does. I don’t pretend to understand what all this means. But when I don’t understand and can barely comprehend I yearn to walk more fully in the footsteps of Jesus. Someday, Scripture tells me, I’ll see more clearly than I do now. But now is not the time.