NORMAN — We have all been impacted by the devastation of the Moore tornado. Friends and neighbors left with nothing — no homes, no vehicles, no places of work — nothing. All of us grieving the death of children, neighbors and loved ones.
As we grieve, I am reminded that there is a time for everything: Silence, tears, embracing, searching, helping, cleaning and beginning again. Eventually, when the time is right, questioning. How do we make sense of this? Where was God? Does God cause or allow these things to happen? Is there even a God? The questions are too important to ignore. The answers force us to wrestle with how we understand life and faith. Some offer simple answers; inadequate for times like these. Others ignore the questions, which makes us even more uncomfortable. I’m not sure a totally satisfactory answer is possible, but we must still ask and we must still consider. If the time is right for you to ask these questions, maybe the ramblings of a pastor can encourage you.
Two ideas from scripture come together to help me make sense of the devastation and destruction that result from natural disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. The first is from creation. Genesis 1:2 describes an earth that was formless, meaningless, empty, dark and had a mighty wind above its watery surface. In other words, the earth was full of chaos. Yet, out of the chaos, God created and described His creation as “very good.” But, was that the end of creation and chaos? Romans 8 states that the “whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
What does it mean that creation groans and suffers? Could it be that tornadoes are one way?
The second idea from scripture involves the “already-not yet” nature of salvation. The scripture talks about salvation as something that has already occurred, “by grace through faith.” Yet, it also teaches us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Through Jesus we are “made righteous,” yet we must learn to “walk” in that righteousness. We are a “new creation” in Christ, yet we still struggle with the “chaos” of our old nature. We are transformed in Christ, yet being transformed as we grow and mature in our faith. This is great news, but means I still have to deal with the chaos in my life and allow God to continue His creative work in me.