It has been a while since I last wrote a blog, and a lot has happened since then that, when you look at it, naturally make you ask the question “why?” In the time since my last blog, three devastating hurricanes have hit the Caribbean, Houston, Florida, and beyond (including here in Middle Georgia) and, most recently this nation has suffered its worst mass-shooting in its history in Las Vegas – a senseless act of pure evil. Hundreds are dead, and many, many more have been affected in a variety of ways by these events. Yet, even in the face of these very horrific tragedies, you can still see God at work. I will just pick a few examples that I have personally seen, but many more stories out there in the wake of these events. There is the massive response of generosity in the wake of the Houston flooding – millions upon millions of dollars donated to the relief effort; stories of people donating their time, their energy, and their effort to help those affected in Houston. Two weeks ago 60 Minutes ran a story on the Hurricane Harvey aftermath – the pictures were incredible; debris piles like mountains in front of houses; treasures and memories being thrown away. Yet, one of the people interviewed, a man who was throwing things out of his house, said that he had had several “church crews” in his house helping with the clean-up. The man said during the interview, “it’s amazing how God works.” On September 10, 2017, USA Today ran an article titled, Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA (you can find the article at this link:https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-faith-groups-provide-bulk-disaster-recovery-coordination-fema/651007001/). In the stories coming, seemingly hourly, out of Las Vegas, people coming together to shower victims with love, hundreds donating blood to help victims, prayer vigils being held regularly in churches. These are but a very small sampling of the hundreds of examples of love and mercy shown in the face of disaster and tragedy.
The fact is that evil and strife is out there every day. We have to acknowledge that. Jesus was not shielded from evil or strife, nor are we, but how Jesus responded to evil and strife was what revealed the supremacy of God. So, maybe for us the question is not so much “Why?”; but rather “What?” as in “what are you going to do when tragedy strikes?” You respond with love, generosity, sympathy, kindness, mercy, and grace. I believe that is the natural human response because we are made in God’s image – we are his creation, so we are endowed with the qualities that cause us to respond as He does. In responding in this fashion, we make perfect God’s power and reveal His supremacy. Therefore, while it may be natural to question why God allows disaster to strike, it must be equally reaffirming when you see the response of millions of fellow humans (whether believers or not). When disaster strikes, our natural reaction is to look up to God, and then we see His response when we look around and witness (and participate in) His love, His mercy, His sympathy, His generosity, and His grace. Then, we know that He is with us, and we know “Why” he is with us – because we are His. Pray for those affected by Harvey. Pray for those affected by Irma. Pray for those affected by Jose. Pray for those affected in Las Vegas, and respond to the “Why” with love, generosity, sympathy, kindness, mercy, and grace as only God and His children can.
G. Grant Greenwood