Whenever a major tragedy or world-altering event occurs, the question is inevitably raised: where is God? Why did God let this happen?
Some will immediately lift up the suggestion that “God has a plan” or “God is in control.” There are countless scriptures to back this viewpoint. However, to hold to it also means that God is causing the devastation, the tragedies, the genocides, the wars. God is causing pain and suffering.
Throughout the history of God’s people there has been a discomfort with this thought. We love and serve a God who is all-powerful, but also all-loving. And how can a God who literally is Love cause evil. The answer is: God can’t.
Though God is all-powerful, God chooses to allow events to play out. God gives us a choice to say no to what God is pursuing in this world. Like every good parent, God knows there are some lessons that we have to learn on our own.
And as to “acts of God,” as our insurance companies would call them, people have been blaming the gods since time immemorial for the sometimes crazy things that happen in nature. Mainly because we are more comfortable believing that God is causing harm than to sit in the mess and realize that some things just happen. Some things just are.
So where is God in all of this?
Right next to you. And me. And all of God’s children throughout this world.
The true promise of God’s providence is not that God will always fix everything to be perfect, but that God will be present through anything and everything that will happen. God will be there with us, holding on to us, and working good even in the most devastating of circumstances.
What is more, just as we can choose to not live into God’s loving purposes in this world and cause harm, because of God’s presence we can also choose to live into the Love that is loose in this world. As a wise Rabbi once suggested in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the act of God was not the devastating act of nature. The act of God occurred when the people stepped up to help each other.
My friends, God is with us. And God empowers and equips us to be tangible signs of God’s presence to one another. There are countless ways to do this. But what they all share in common is the mark they bear of our God who is Love.
So go share that love in every way you can. Even when all hope seems lost, love will always have the last word.