Another one of those where is God? scenarios
Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am
“Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?” - Psalm 77:9
The announcement from police that they believe five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes, have been murdered is deeply disturbing. That someone living among us has been charged with carrying out such atrocities is particularly upsetting given that our’s is a city where children compose a significant component of the population.
A variety of emotions assault us as we come to terms with the news – anxiety and anger complicate the sorrow that gnaws at the core of our beings. Inevitable questions that begin with “how” and “why,” are asked with an unsettling awareness that – at least in this life - we’ll likely never encounter definitive answers.
Regarding such queries, I know this with certainty: they have been asked ever since mankind has been around to articulate them. And, for whatever reason(s) or combination thereof, situations that prompt them invariably lure our comprehension of deity into consideration. I’ve already had several stimulating conversations along the lines of “where is God?” as the O’Brien/Liknes tragedy has unfolded.
Not being one to automatically dole out traditional or trendy solutions to the complex realities of the human experience, the Scripture quoted above is intended to remind us that the “where is God?” response is one that’s been an immediate “go to” for centuries as people have attempted to come to terms with life’s inequities.
Perhaps there’s something instructive in this pattern of history.
“Where is God?” in response to the kind of news that has rattled us this week is an implicit acknowledgement of something that’s easy to forget in the everyday busy-ness of life: some of the raw elements of life are simply beyond our ability to adequately understand. Even in an era when they tell us the amount of knowledge available to us doubles every four years or so, there are still some things about reality we just don’t “get!”
Over the years I’ve witnessed that realization dawn on people as what we call one of those “aha moments.” From what I’ve observed, “aha moments” can entrench the perspective of cynics who’d have us believe life is ultimately some kind of cruel joke. Or, as the writer quoted above suggests, an “aha” moment can promote a re-evaluation of our understanding – or lack thereof – of God.
What’s your choice, and why?
Tim is pastor of Faith Community Church in Airdrie. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org