"Those who would like the God of scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask."
--The Problem of Pain
During the past week I have heard many theories about Hurricane Katrina and the reason for her devastation, especially regarding her toll in human life. I have heard that it was the judgment of God on New Orleans for the wickedness of the city. I have heard as well that people who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit would have known to get out of there. The fact that the infamous/famous Bourbon street was largely untouched and that the first business to reopen in New Orleans was a bar on said street sets the first "theory" tumbling. And from what I understand, the issue in most cases wasn't knowing to get out, but was rather having the means to do so. I really hope that we aren't still positing that one's financial resources are a direct indication of their spirituality. Will the body of Christ please grow up?
What is it about us that struggles so hard to make sense of tragedy? Our reaction to catastrophe is similar, I think, to the one we have when we hear that someone in excellent condition had a heart attack, or someone who always ate healthy was diagnosed with cancer. The young Bible college student dies in a car crash, while her lascivious, selfish neighbor lives on to his 90th birthday. The responsible young couple can't conceive, while the abusive negligent parent has six children and is expecting the seventh. The man who is kind, caring and doting is married to the selfish woman who can't be grateful because nothing is ever enough. The honors student is shot in a drive by. The fiance dies three days before his wedding. Things aren't supposed to happen that way. It causes us to do a mental and emotional double take. It throws all of our theories to the wind. It upsets us.We question ourselves. We question each other. And if we are honest, we question God.
I've found the programs, such as Good Morning America, who promise to answer " all of our questions" to be amusing, in a little bit of a sick way. Sorry Charlie... I don't think so. It would be impossible for you to answer my questions because at this point I don't even know how to formulate a question out of what I am feeling. All I know is that I walk around with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach and end up crying for no apparent reason while doing something innocuous, like ironing. Not only do I not know what to ask, I don't know what to say. Everything seems to have a hollow ring to it. I don't know what to think, or how to even feel about it. I feel guilty for going about my life as usual and indulging even the smallest pleasure. And to be really honest...right now I'm even having trouble knowing what to pray....shhhhhh.