Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Will of God?
Did you hear about the massive land slide in the United States. A huge area of mud and ice slide down a mountainside inundating the valley below. Your answer is probably yes -- if we follow the news at all we are aware of the slide in Washington State which has swept away many homes and resulted in the deaths of at least fourteen people with scores unaccounted for.
But I'm talking about the slide that took place in February in Alaska, which could be one of the largest ever recorded. You didn't hear about that one? There's a reason. Even though it was on a huge scale it was in a remote and uninhabited area, at least not home to humans. A pilot was able to grab some film footage of the avalanche and slide, but otherwise it was an act of nature that didn't garner much attention. These things happen on a dynamic and changing planet and we don't become all that interested unless humanity is affected.
Neither are we inclined to ask questions such as "why did God allow this to happen?" unless people die. After virtually every major disaster someone asks me why God allowed the innocent to suffer and perish, or if there can be a compassionate deity at all. I certainly understand why people are shaken and I have my own moments. I get really angry when fundamentalists of any religious persuasion insist that these events are evidence of God's wrath and punishment: "oh, would you look at the time, I better smite thousands of innocent folk for some obscure reason..." Of course it's usually because these victims haven't believed in a certain way.
I pray for those who are affected by natural disasters and I think we all can and should. I just don't think they are Acts of God. Am I puzzled and perplexed that some suffer while others don't? Do I wonder why one car is engulfed in the mud of the slide and the one behind in narrowly averts disaster? I sure am puzzled and I sure do wonder. But I don't think that God intends this. It is the way of the planet, not the will of God.
How do deal with this? Do you find yourself questioning the presence of a benign God more or less as the years go by?