A Fair Response to the Flood?

Is it ok to thank God that my home wasn’t flooded?

In the midst of the intense flooding in our community caused by Hurricane Harvey, many spiritual questions have surfaced like:

Where is God in the suffering?

Why didn’t God “calm the storm?”

or simply…

Dear God, when will the rain stop?

I recently had a [social media] conversation with a neighbor who asked, “To all those people who are thanking God they are ok…Do you think the other ones didn’t preemptively thank God enough?

This is a really great question. It captures the frustration we all have when things seem to go right for other people, but when they go wrong for us.  It gets to the heart of our desire to know God’s will.

Ultimately, the question boils down to “Why do bad things happen to good people?

Here was my response:

I think people who thank God believe that everything good in life is a gift from God, because, to them, God is the definition of goodness. Life itself is a gift that no one deserves. So when something good happens they thank their good God.

On the flip side, they don’t believe that bad things happening are the punishment of God or the refusal of God to help because they don’t deserve it – (No one “deserves” gifts) – but rather bad things are the result of a broken world where bad things happen to good people. 

Still even in bad times we have hope that God will turn bad things into good. That’s the essence of the hope of resurrection – life coming out of death.

I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly why some bad things happen (or why some good things happen). I think that’s what’s unique about Christianity…God isn’t a god that protects us from everything and prevents us from making mistakes…God didn’t make us to be robots.  Instead he made us to live, to risk, to love, and to lose…with the promise to be with us in the suffering, with us in death, and with us in resurrection.  

Maybe God could prevent all the loss and all the death…but apparently life, death, and then resurrection is better.

And maybe God wants the people who are thankful that they haven’t lost anything to rally around those that have lost and show them love and grace and help.

Let’s be the church together to give neighbors like this one a reason to be thankful.

God, give me a sign that you exist

Give me a sign

Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-21

I’ve heard it asked that, if God exists, why doesn’t he make it more obvious to all of us skeptics?  Why not make a big show of himself?  Why not give us a sign of incontrovertible proof that he exists and we should therefore serve him?

And one answer to this question can be found in the story of Jesus’ death In the death and resurrection of Jesus, God gave us a display of his existence and power.  In the first century, the resurrection is why many people turned from disbelief to belief.  They had seen Jesus die and then they had seen the risen Jesus with their own eyes — and this, for them, was indisputable evidence — an obvious sign that God is here.

But another answer to the question “Why doesn’t God make a big show of his presence?” can be found in the story of Jesus’ birthRead more

I Wish I Could Hear God

I Wish I Could Hear God

There is something within us that really wants God to speak to us.

Even non-religious people sometimes find themselves, in a moment of weakness, praying and asking God for help.  Sometimes we’re not even asking for something as big as a miracle, but just something small: a sign to let us know that he’s there or maybe just a word to let us know what we should do.

Life would be so much easier if God just spoke to us more often.  Which job should you take? God will tell you.  Which person should you date? God will tell you. Which school should you attend? Which house should you buy? Which restaurant should you eat at tonight? God will tell you.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if God spoke to us more often?

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