I watched footage of one of the monster tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma. It was from one of the storm chaser types. The guy offered commentary on the direction of the twister, how large he estimated it to be, explained the roaring sound.
Then the guy got scared.
His adrenaline had turned to fear. And he got in his special made car and drove away as fast as he could.
He drove to where the tornado had been. Everything was flattened. No movement anywhere. The calm after the storm.
The calm just before everyone realized what had happened. What they’d lost. Who they had lost.
The calm just before the Red Cross came. Before news reporters stood on corners to report on the devastation.
An eery, unearthly calm.
My thought, looking at torn to shred houses and uprooted trees?
Oh my goodness. Lord, don’t let some insensitive, Bible toting person say something awful. Please just shut their mouths.
Because, inevitably, someone says something terrible to blame the victims of tragedies. Citing the judgement of an angry God. Painting a picture of a God who delights in the sufferings of His people.
Even though Scripture clearly points to the delight that God has in His children. And, never mind that the prodigal son wasn’t pelted with daggers when he came home, but overtaken by his father’s embrace.
If I got a call today from one of my atheist or agnostic friends, asking why God let this happen…well…to be honest with you, I wouldn’t know what in the world to say. Because I don’t understand it. Does that make my faith weak? I don’t know. But at least I can admit that I wonder and doubt and question.
And I think God can handle that.
But I sure as anything wouldn’t say that God sent the tornado. Or that He wanted to make a point. Or that He needed more angels in heaven and that’s why He took those kids.
Because I don’t believe those words. And I think they do more harm than good.
I guess what I would say is that my heart is broken. Because that is true. And that I really, really, deep down inside believe that Jesus grieves with us in tragedy. Why wouldn’t He? He wept for His friends Mary and Martha when He saw their anguish over losing their brother.
And, get this, Jesus knew how that day would end. With the resurrection of Lazarus.
And, get this, Jesus knows how everything will end. Far better than we claim to know.
And, yet, He finds no delight in pain or suffering or loss.
I think that He longs for heaven. For us. More than we long for it. Because He lived here and knows heartbreak.
And because He has lived there, in heaven. And, in that place, He will wipe dry our tears and make right all that was made wrong.
He has gone to prepare a place for us. Because He loves us.
He does so. Dearly.