Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday's Meditation: A Boss Your Heart Message

Thank you, Kirsten Walkup, for today's message.

By Kisten Walkup
Like many of you, last week I found myself glued to my TV watching the disaster in Japan unfold. The scale and scope of the damage is really beyond comprehension. First, one of the biggest earthquakes recorded hit the island, then an epic tsunami raced inland laying waste to all in its path, finally a nuclear disaster the scale of which has not been witnessed in at least twenty years threatened to not only increase the death count, but also dramatically hinder the Japanese from being able to recover from this catastrophe in economical terms. As I watched the videos of people being swept away to certain death by the monster wave, or footage of houses and buildings crumble with inhabitants trapped inside them, I couldn’t help but wonder, why? Much like the great Asian tsunami of 2004 which sent a quarter of a million souls into eternity, this really bothered me.
I have a pretty analytical mind. I understand that the earth is a moving, ever-changing entity that is capable of rendering awe-inspiring beauty as well as gut-wrenching violence. The earth is in a constant state of destruction and renewal. At the unfathomable depths of the ocean floor, a place most consider remote and placid, truly vicious movements of the earth’s tectonic plates cause the earth to rise and fall resulting in the types of calamity that have hit Southeast Asia, Haiti, New Zealand, and now Japan. On a forensic level, I get it. This kind of thing happens. Time and pressure demands that the earth release her energy, sometimes with terrifying results. That’s physics. And because the most dangerous places on earth also happen to be some of the most beautiful, people have a nasty habit of placing themselves in harm’s way. But the part of me that knows I serve an Awesome God who cares very deeply about the affairs and events of humanity, wrestles with this stuff.
I know all of the correct theological answers as to why God allows human suffering. I understand that God does not often suspend natural law in order to nullify human suffering. We live in an orderly cause and effect universe and God does not lightly alter that order. In specific times and circumstance God has and does intervene. We have no way of knowing when God does intervene; we only know when he appears not to. The very fact that our relatively small planet hurls itself around a giant fireball of a star at over 1,000 mph at a precise angle of tilt without incident speaks to the fact that God does care about humanity. Knowing all of this great theological theory, however, does little to set my mind at ease when I see thousands of people die in a matter of minutes; or when I watch the news and hear about a child being harmed by the people who were supposed to care for them the most; or when I see a funeral procession carrying the flag-draped coffin of a fallen hero whose life was snuffed out far too soon. Sometimes I just put my head in my hands, and for all the things I have learned and been taught, I still find myself asking “why”?
Over the years I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to answer that question to my satisfaction. Not in this lifetime anyway. I look forward to the day when God lifts the mortal shroud that conceals understanding of such things from the grasps of my finite mind and fallible heart. Until that day, all I can do is set my mind and boss my heart into trusting God. When my mind fails to come up with adequate explanation and theology falls short of granting comfort to my troubled heart, I can still approach God’s throne and find peace and comfort at the feet of Jesus.
Isaiah 40: 29-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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