With the suffering coming from our brothers and sisters in Haiti you are left wondering how to deal with it.
Tragedy and pain are disorienting. We don’t want to experience either, yet life keeps bringing them on. Our egos try to keep our lives tragedy and pain-free.
When my mother died my whole world seemed to shatter apart. I had no rhyme or reason. It was only when I really sat down to think about the last weeks of my life did I see that He was present in all those who cared, supported and wiped my tears away.
This is a world of tragedy and pain. It is also a world of joy and fulfillment. It is my conviction that God is present to us in both worlds. The question always is how these two worlds can exist at the same time. There is no easy answer. The closest I can come to it in my own experience is that only a world of freedom could create that possibility. How could we choose good if evil did not offer us a choice. Creativity always comes out of chaos.
But to return to our question: It is easy to sense God’s presence when things are going right. But where is God when things fall apart? Do we not find the divine presence in the very place that Jesus found it during his crucifixion? Could there be a greater experience of tragedy and pain than that? God was there in the loving acts extended to Christ by those who loved him and stayed with him to the end. His mother, Mary Magdalene, the disciples—all were there in their grief and broken-heartedness.
In our world of pain, we can find God in the loving acts of those who stand by us. In our illnesses we can be grateful for those of the medical profession who fight to restore our health. They are the instruments of God and through them his love comes. All healing really is divine. In our emotional distresses God comes to us through a friend, a family member, a counselor, or a minister to offer us encouragement. God is there through those who care. In moments of deep need, God comes in a mysterious way to give us courage.
No one escapes the struggles of life. Our goodness or our faith do not make us immune from suffering. God never promised that life would be without its painful moments. We are promised that God will be with us no matter what we face. Someone wrote, “Peace does not come with the absence of troubles, but with the conscious realization of adequate resources.” God can be found as the supplier of all the resources we need to get through life’s difficult moments. We also find God in the messages of hope. This experience of pain will not have the last word. Jesus said to his disciples, “In this world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)