During a CBS television interview, Barbara Garcia found a reason to celebrate – she pulled her dog from under the rubble. “I thought God just answered one prayer to let me be OK, but He answered both of them.“
This whole scene reminded me of a dinner party hosted by a Presbyterian couple. During dinner, the couple’s wife described a month long ordeal of having to travel back to her native homeland for the unexpected death of her brother. She frustratingly pondered why her brother had to pass so quickly. Thereafter, her husband detailed God’s love. While backing out of his driveway, his vehicle ran over the neighbor’s dog. After about ten minutes, God brought this dog back to life, seemingly unhurt.
My first thought at the dinner party was very similar to that of Ms. Garcia. “God destroyed all those homes, businesses and allowed twenty-one to die; but damn, God saved the dog? What the hell? “ To the spouse who lost her brother, my first thought was, “Either God wanted to really take your brother home or he was unsalvageable, for God saved the dog?”
I am glad Ms. Garcia was able to pull her dog from the rubble. I am still amazed at many, many miracles that probably did occur in Oklahoma. However, many have witnessed personal praise of God for helping find a parking space, for not forgetting sunscreen, for a sunny day versus rain, for a personal day off, for detouring them away from heavy traffic. This seems like a God of the meager versus all knowing and powerful.
Deep down, all of us, at one time or another, had to have a private conversation with God, asking, “What the hell?” In the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado, Twitter accounts filled the airwaves with tweet prayers of 140 characters or less. I’m positive the Catholics held rosaries, Muslims prayed, Buddhists meditated and people of many nations and faiths hugged loved ones closer. However, at the end of the day, there’s no simple reason to explain the “What the hell” question.
I’m positive many ignorant religiously attuned faith professors will quote the mystery of God’s hidden plan, in both good times and sorrow. And should some religious prodigy came forth with God’s profound reason for all this destruction and death, would it make any of us feel better? Do you find reporters professing the blessing of God seem repugnantly inadequate? No response could profess such confidence in neither God nor atheism.
Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “… I say beforehand that the entire truth is not worth such a price. We cannot afford to pay so much for admission. It is not God that I do not accept. I merely, most respectfully, return Him the ticket.”
We don’t want a God who stands silently by the wayside as death and destruction rip through countless lives. In truth, we want a God who feels our burden, our pain and the emptiness. We need a Lord who weeps, a Lord who can simply find a way to comfort the gaping hole seared straight through the heart.
In the end, there are no neat compendiums of perfect faith. Each disaster is but a new road down a dark and lonely path. However, the most profound proof of faith is our compassion and love. We are God’s representatives when we create miracles in the lives of all who hurt. It is our commandment and profession of faith.