Psalm 42:2-3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’
When tragedy occurs, this question often arises not only for those critical of the faith but for those inside the faith as well. How could a loving God “allow” for so many terrible things to happen in the world? I’d be lying if I too didn’t admit that I question God’s intent or plan at times. When I want answers, the last thing I want is to hear about “mystery” or the great arc of God’s plan. (And we always want those answers yesterday, don’t we?) One thought I try to keep in mind, though, is that God indeed is a “living God” as the psalmist illustrates, not a relic of the past. I am most blind in my faith when I cling to archetypes and patterns that do not reflect the reality of the actual world I inhabit. While calls to be “present” under duress may make me roll my eyes on occasion, once I reach the place where I can hear the suggestion, my perspective can adjust in healing and restorative ways. More often than not, I take better ownership of my role in tragedy rather than a blaming role when something awful occurs. This position enables me to become more compassionate and understanding the next time misfortune occurs. Loving and forgiving as Jesus does is a daily practice of my faith that doesn’t always come as easily as I wish it would. I do see great benefit when I get there though!
— Sarah Butler Ginolfi