What do we say to such things? The forces of nature in the tornadoes of this past weekend and the typhoon of ten days ago have brought utter destruction. Lives have been lost. Homes have been destroyed. Infrastructures have collapsed. The elements have spilled out of their boundaries, and humanity has been caught in the path of nature’s fury.
What do we say to such things? Is this the action of an angry God? Are these most recent storms acts of punishment or judgment? Could not the Jesus who calmed the wind and the waves have stilled these storm? Could not the Jesus who worked miracles over the physical world worked miracles here? Could not the God who created the heavens and the earth with but a word, uttered peace be still, so that the winds and the waters would have been turned away?
Where was God as these tornadoes spun forth in fury? Where was God as the typhoon roared ashore? What do we say to such things?
As we hold in our prayers the people suffering from these storms we remember that on this earthly journey we live in the tension of the grace, mercy, and love of God revealed in Christ, and the mysteries and sorrows of a broken world. God’s purposes are not always clearly discernible to us. God is revealed to us, but God is also hidden from us: we do not know completely the mind of God. We cannot understand fully the workings of God.
But what we do know is that in the midst of any and all things God is present. We do know that because of Jesus, where there is suffering, there God is also. God’s Spirit is sustaining, and God beckons everyday human creatures – like you and me – to come to the aid of those in need.
So what do we say to such things? We cry Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy, and then we become the hands, the heart, and the feet of Christ to bring that mercy to those in need.
Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.