He has done something!

When something awful happens to you, your loved one, closest friend or community is there not always the question — silently-voiced maybe, but screaming non-the-less “so why did YOU let that happen then? Arn’t I; they; us; trying hard enough already? Why do YOU punish us: the basically good guys?”

Then there are those who audaciously explain why God has allowed it. Nothing new there: the Bible is full of complaints against God. Job, in particular, is authoritatively given all sorts of reasons why God did what God did: all of it rubbish.

Here’s the thing — none of us has the right to explain that God has either a motive for; hand in; or design by tragedy, disaster or pandemic. Indeed it’s arrogant and cruel to tell someone who suffers “why” God allowed a particular terrible thing to befall them, their dearest, their community or their world.

Disease, wars, injustice, death: none of these are God’s doing. But if this is so then perhaps we will ask “Why doesn’t God do something about it?” To which the Biblical Story shouts back “He has!”. God’s loudest answer to our predicament so far is resurrection.

Perhaps those that need to be God’s spokes-person do so because, when things get so totally, tragically, gut-wrenchingly out of control then maybe God is not whom they imagined. Well, maybe God is not.

To imply that God is impotent when awful things happen is to deny the faithful and loving God who reconciles the world to himself despite the slaughter of his Child. God is not a superman who stops bad things happening: God is God because he knows how to make “beauty from ashes”; hope in the depths of despair; redemption in the face of it all: and does so in the commonplace of every day.

(An article written for the Derby Telegraph Faith Files column)