I've watched with interest as the public has debated the controversial comments of Pat Robertson regarding the ongoing tragedy in Haiti. Robertson came out last week, just after the earthquake, and said that God was punishing the people of Haiti.
Immediately, there was backlash in the media from "experts", other theologians and streetwise pundits. The question was asked (as has been for centuries), "Why do bad things happen to good people?" After all, a loving God would not do this to these people. The same kinds of arguments follow many natural disasters in this world (e.g. the weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans). I'm not here to support or dispel one side or the other of this argument. I've got a different question in mind.
The question I'm pondering this morning is this: who am I to pretend to know what God is up to? Sometimes, because of our finite way of thinking, we believe that we can simplify God's logic down to option A or B when, in reality, God is thinking of options A to M. Who is to say that God didn't have discipline in mind when the earthquake happened? To deny this as a possibility is to ignore the God of the Old Testament, who frequently used acts (natural and otherwise) to bring discipline to His children. Maybe it's not discipline that is occurring but simply an attempt to get the attention of the world or Haiti. Maybe God allowed this to see how Christ followers all over the world (including the U. S.) would respond when they saw brothers and sisters in desperate need. Maybe a fourth or fifth or sixth option must be considered. And, here's the clincher, who is to say that God isn't able to accomplish all of these through one event because of his infinite wisdom and power.
Here's my point. Rather than acting like I can trace God's hand well enough to pronounce to the world that this is or is not His doing, how about doing what I know I can do. I can continue to pray for the people of Haiti. I can continue to give of my resources to help those in need. I can prepare my heart to be open to new opportunities for serving those poor individuals who have survived this horrible event. And...I can stop pretending like I am God and that I comprehend all that He does.
Here's the truth...there will be more tragedy, more horror and more need in this world as she continues to wind down (just go read Matthew 24). As Christ followers, we are free from having to judge, having to determine, having to make broad sweeping pronouncements. What we are not free to do is to turn our eyes away from the needs around us, whether that is a nation in turmoil or our neighbor across the street.