Friday, February 5, 2010

Suffering: Pointing Fingers in the Wrong Direction?

A whole lot of passionate and upset talk goes on about God and Suffering.  How can a Loving God permit us to suffer unfairly?  If He is so powerful why doesn't He stop our suffering?  What about all the innocents who for example are homeless or crushed or crippled by the earthquake in Haiti or the hurricane in New Orleans? 

It seems to some of us sensitive moderns that God doesn't do a very good job at being nice.  The best excuse for him we can scrape together is that perhaps he doesn't ordain or control this world, but that he is somehow experiencing it as we do, in a sort of state of constant surprise. 

That sort of stuff won't do.  Either God wears the pants or He needs to find another name for himself.  And maybe someone should slap me, but I think generally we're pointing fingers in the wrong direction when we have a problem with God.  Don't get me wrong. I've worked with crippled orphans in China, ached for frost-bitten beggars in the street, been furious over child-prostitution in Cambodia, and been so angry at God for all the suffering in the world I have shouted at him for an hour or not talked to him for months. 

I don't have all the logical answers I used to have. Maybe I'll have them again someday. But I've learned enough to know that any wrath and finger-pointing really needs to point at us.  The more I see of humans and into my own heart, the more I feel sad for us and our selfishness.  God doesn't need a PR guy but I want to say this anyway:  He's the good guy.  I've touched the hem of his garments and caught glimpses of his eyes and seen and felt the sunshine of his face.  "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  He's the force for good and healing in this world.  If I can point a finger for a minute, I want to point it at Jesus, God in the flesh, hanging on the cross.  That's a hint to what God is really like, even when we don't know all the why's of what he's doing. Save your angry questions for those who deserve it. Like you.

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