Where was God?

God was on 35W.

I addressed this subject on Belief.Net just after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean with the following short post.



[The word of God] then said, "Go out [of the cave] and stand on the mountain before God." And behold, God was passing, and a great, powerful wind, smashing mountains and breaking rocks, went before God. "God is not in the wind!" [Elijah was told]. After the wind cam an earthquake. "God is not in the earthquake." After the earthquake came a fire. "God is not in the fire." After the fire came a still, thin sound.

1 Kings 19:11-12 (Stone Edition Tanach - Artscroll)

God is not in the disaster. He is in the ensuing peace after the disaster when the community comes together. He is there helping them to grieve. He is there giving them hope. He is there helping them to grow. He is there holding us when we can no longer hold ourselves.



Can you see God in this picture?

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I can.  God is in the rescuers.  I don't mean just the brave men and women in uniform trying to sort through the mess.  He is in each one of the people who aided, whose heart goes out to those injured in the disaster.   He is there giving us a hand and hope to cling to when we feel we have nothing else.  He is in that still small voice guiding us to risk our safety for the benefit of those in need.

To blame God for tragedies such as this is minimizing God.  It is putting an anthropomorphic face on the ineffable.  God does not cause tragedy.  He helps pull us through it.  To believe that God expresses emotions on a whim humanizes God and helps us better understand our concept of God.  But it dismisses the fact that He is greater than we.  We can never truly understand him until we let go of the misperception of God in human terms.

Our distorted perception of God tells us that God is responsible for all things.  If this were the case, God is both good and evil.  There would be no need for the concept of Satan.  We would have to believe that God caused this.  He causes all of the misery in the world.  But things happen because they happen.  That is the nature of our imperfect world.  It is up to us to help God perfect the world by helping others.  This is the concept of tikkun olam - the repair of the world. To blame God is tantamount to denying him.  It leads down the slippery slope to believing that Goddoes not exist.  There is no hope.  There is no salvation.

Psychologically speaking, stress is a necessary component of our existence.  If we could not feel the sense of pain and loss, we would not know when to draw our hand away from the flame.  We would not know sorrow, nor happiness.  If we could not sense pain, we could not sense pleasure.  Everything would be on an even keel and life as we know it would be boring.  We would have no need to seek God.  He would be rendered irrelevant.

God IS relevant.  He is right here with us.  All we need to do is open our eyes and recognize Him.