Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where was God in Connecticut?

Here is what a friend of mine wrote to me:

Uncle, I am having a hard time trying to figure out why things like the Connecticut shooting happen.  Where is God and why didn't He protect these little kids? How can I trust God and believe that psalms 91 is for me. I can't stop thinking about these things happening around. Can't take it. Help me out. I know it is hard for you more than any one else but I am curious. How do you keep trusting God after ur tragedy? You would have prayed for your son day and night. I am sorry Uncle for bringing it up but I feel you can answer me better.

I responded as follows:

I can't promise that my answer can fully satisfy you. God and His ways are incomprehensible to us. God alone can answer your question satisfactorily. All I can tell you is what I think we can do in such situations.

Our Lord Jesus compared human life to a building. A building is exposed to heat, rains, and even to hurricanes. God doesn't protect us from such hurricane-like disasters in our life. When we lose our dear ones, when we lose a means of living, when we lose our health, or when relationships break down-- all these are examples of hurricanes in our life. This is true about a community as well when it is in a larger scale. When there is a war, when there is a famine, or when there is a contagious illness-- these are examples of a hurricane that can blow against a community. When a hurricane blow in our life, there are two possibilities: we might either be swept away or we will overcome it and continue to stand there. It depends on how strong the foundation is. The foundation of our life is our view of life or our understanding of life. If our understanding of life is superficial, we will surely be swept away, but if our understanding of life is deep, we will overcome the hurricanes and continue to stand there.

Human life is also compared to trees in Psalm 1. We have the option to be like a strong and fruitful tree that withstands hurricanes or to be like chaff that is swept away by the wind. Imagine a small tree growing up. It grows up facing heat, cold, and winds. Each time a wind blows on it, its roots go deeper, which makes it stronger. The winds we face in our life give us the opportunity to become stronger so that when we have to face a hurricane occasionally, we won't be swept away.

The difference between Job and his wife illustrates this. The same hurricane hit in the life of both, but they faced it differently. The hurricane could not shake Job at all, but it so shook his wife to the core that she wanted to commit suicide along with her husband. Job was not shaken because he had a very strong foundation to his life. His understanding of life was deep and broad, whereas his wife's was shallow and narrow. This is what she thought: We were healthy, wealthy, and we had everything one could hope for in life, but God unjustly took away everything. But this is what Job thought: We came to the world as babies, having nothing. We came here naked, and we will leave this world in the same way. All that we had were entrusted to us by God for safekeeping, and now God the true owner has taken everything back. There is no need to get desperate or hopeless.

We evolve our understanding of life as we grow up asking the basic questions of life. We ask questions such as what we are, what is this world, what is life, why we live, and how we are related to the world and God. As we gain more and more experiences in life, our understanding gets deeper and wider. We need to keep our mind open like the good soil in Jesus' parable willing to learn from our experiences. If our mind remains hard like rock, we never learn anything new, and we remain shallow in our understanding of life. Although we will never reach the understanding that God has, we will gain enough understanding to lead a fruitful life.

In short, we cannot explain why hurricanes hit us in our life. God alone can answer this question. But this is what we can do: We can welcome disasters in our life as opportunities to gain better understanding and become stronger. We will have to keep our mind open.

May God give strength to the grieving families, to the community around, and to all of us to overcome the pain of this sad event!

4 comments:

susan said...

John,
I think that the responsibility for what happened in Connecticut is ours. God appointed man as caretaker of the earth and this involves responsible handling of everything entrusted to him including nature and ones own relationships. We cannot pinpoint the responsibility of what went wrong on the boy who committed the murder or his parents or his school, but on all of us who are in some way responsible for the state the world is in. The easy way people end one relationship/marriage and move on to another is one example of irresponsible behaviour. It shows a lack of real love for one's partner and one's children.

When disasters like this occur, we must think and try to correct ourselves.

We can also gain hope from the fact that life is eternal and the children and others, like the children slain at the birth of Jesus, will be with God.

Regards
Susan

Fr. Mat Alexander said...

a wonderful and heartfelt answer indeed, John-uncle. Thanks for posting!

God does not desire people to sin. By its very definition, it is not God's will. But despite our sin, God works. In the midst of our own destruction, His grace sprouts hope (from the stump of Jesse a shoot shall rise). He transforms our great tragedies and horrible mistakes into miracles. Where was God when these innocent children were killed? The same place He was when His innocent Son was killed. God knows our pain. He has provided a solution to it. Death by its very definition could not hold His innocent Son, and we share in that victory and He who broke open the tombs will break open the tombs of these children and wipe every tear from our eyes, and restore what we have broken to His image and likeness.

George Joseph said...

We are appointed as caretakers of this earth, but we are individually working as our own caretakers forgetting God's desire. There is no God who sits on a throne and function as a watchman of humanity. If we are good caretakers, God will support us. But we need not stand by him expecting a return of his support. We have to be selfless.

George Joseph

Tony Daniel said...

The answer is partly in Proverbs 1:20-33.

The sun shines equally on the just and wicked, the life giving rain falls on the good earth and rocks alike.

There is no concept or wisdom about God to explain what happened on December 16 2012 in Delhi. No One lifted a finger to help, that is all that matters.

We have drifted so far away from God, with our sacrifices and rituals and burnt offerings, that is so vile in the eyes of God.