Faith in face of tragedy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

People here and abroad have been touched by the images of the devastation caused from the earthquake that rocked Haiti. Many have been touched by the plight of the Haitian people before the earthquake that nearly destroyed the tiny nation. With every passing day, the compassion continues to grow. So many want to help. Some want to blame, while others are indifferent because of the mounting troubles and growing unmet needs. When great troubles strike our lives, faith reminds us that we serve a great God.

Months and years down the road, there will no doubt be coffee shop conversations centered on the question "How could a loving God allow such a tragedy to happen?" The question may possibly be followed with the statement "I just can't believe in a God like that." If the one making the statement is completely intellectually honest, they have chosen not to believe in God on a sunny day either.

We each want to speculate and blame to try to put what is incomprehensible into understandable black and white boxes. There is blame to assign, but God is not the designee. Culpability lies upon a spiritually marked and marred universe that has left nothing untouched. The tragedy that strikes us is caused by a chasm for which repair is beyond our control.

People of faith are never promised that they will not face tremendous troubles. Doctors will call with diagnoses of cancer. Spouses and children will pass away at too young of an age. Hardship and evil will strike. Days will be dark. Days will be sunny. Days will be in-between. Faith never promises an absence of trial and temptation but a God who is faithful to sustain us through the tragedy.

Psalm 25:1 reads, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul." The sun stands in the center of our universe. One degree closer and we would burn. One degree further and we would freeze. The one who hung this star in its exact location is to whom we lift our souls. It is he who is our strength when we are weak.

Pray for the people of Haiti. Give from your blessings to those who have nothing. Go. Not just in the next coming months and not just to Haiti. Go to those who hurt near and far.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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