Someone asked me a question this week that reminded me of the importance of theology. The basic gist of the question had to do with God’s presence in the midst of challenge and difficulty. Where is God in the midst of disaster? Where is God when we ache and when we cry out and when we are at our deepest lows?
This is – to me – one of the basic questions of faith, and it’s one that is critically important. In theological circles, this is called Theodicy (more colloquially known as “the problem of evil”). Where is God in natural disaster like the recent tornadoes? Some might call this God’s punishment for any number of things. Where is God when a loved one is suffering from injury or disease? Is that God’s judgment too? Where is God when we grieve the loss of a friend or family member? Where is God in war? In domestic
violence? In cancer?
This is something we all struggle with, and I don’t think there’s a simple answer. Theologians have been dealing with this for millennia and still haven’t found the lightbulb-over-the-head answer. You won’t find it in this article either.
With that said, perhaps I can suggest some perspective.
I find it helpful to always think of God as Love. I don’t mean to say that God is loving so much as to say that God is so loving that God is love itself! Consider the possibility that God does not wish us harm, even when we have sinned. Imagine that God does not send tragedy our way to test us or to make us stronger or to motivate us. What kind of love would that be? Yet in the midst of all of every mistake and challenge and tragedy, God walks with us and holds us. God grieves with us and strengthens us. God loves us completely and unconditionally right where we are, and continually offers that love and grace and forgiveness. All the time. No matter what.