Thursday, January 14, 2010

Behind a frowning providence

I can't make sense of it. I have more questions than answers.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that tragedy like this threatens to rock my theology at it's very core.

I was listening to NPR this afternoon as they were discussing how the horror in Haiti has affected their faith.


One man called in and said, "I understand why you feel like you need to have faith, but the idea that a god or deities are up there orchestrating all of this is cruel and illogical. Buildings have fallen and crushed children. That's just cruel."

Another caller said, "If you want to hold to your faith and pray for what's happening, I fully support you, but if you really want to make a difference, do something! Let your actions speak for you because God and your prayers isn't going to do anything for those people. Other people are what's going to help them."


Ouch.


But I understand how they feel this way. They don't have eyes to see and ears to hear. I would feel that way too.

And am tempted to feel some of it now.


But now is the absolute worst time to lean on my own understanding. Now is the worst time to look through the lens of what I deem fair and just.

Who am I? Who are we?

We don't know. We just don't.


So, I'm taking my real questions and real doubts to the One with the answers. The One who will one day redeem it all. The One who will wipe away every tear. The One who will restore what the locusts have eaten. The One who's thoughts are infinitely higher than ours.


That's all I know to do with my heart right now.

Trusting that, though today we see a frowning providence, behind it hides His smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.


--William Cowper



**Note: if you are struggling like me with your thoughts of who God is in the wake of this incredible tragedy...this, in my opinion, is an incredibly frank but helpful sermon to read that was written right after an awful earthquake hit Turkey in '99.

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