In Katrina, we face something bigger than ourselves, completely beyond our control that threatens to reveal how much of life really is this way. So many are facing this in tangible, heart-rending ways, fighting for survival or wondering whether loved ones are lost. For all of us, there's the threat of a reality check that our minds quickly rally resources to lock down and tuck beneath the bed again. We make judgments that make us comfortable and start to put our perceptions back onto the well-worn tracks that make our worlds seem manageable. This should happen. That should not. "Bush is to blame" (with his evil weather powers). "The liberal media won't report on our state because they hate us." God only knows whether we believe a whit of it—we're just desperately trying to shrink it all down into something we can be sovereign over.
The fact that we've kidded ourselves into believing this can't happen here must ultimately bear some portion of the blame for the unprepared who now find themselves living a nightmare. Why wouldn't it happen here? Tragedies of great magnitude and deep loss take place across the globe on a regular basis, but for most of us they are numbers and images that flash across our screens for a moment, quickly pushed aside by more welcome Brads and Jens and Angelinas.
A Seattle newspaper earlier this week carried a one word headline: "Ungodly." I disagree. Anyone who's even bothered to casually leaf through the Old Testament can tell you this is extremely Godly. This is on His scale alone. Wrestling with its meaning ultimately brings us to wrestle with Him, to seek His face and His mercy, and to hope and trust in the promise of the Resurrection when the truths so many of us try to daily avoid come rushing at us from every corner. Wrestling with its reality gives us the opportunity to walk out whatever faith He's given us (or to realize it's missing and ask for it), to do justice, show mercy, and walk humbly with Him.
God isn't required to make His actions and rationales clear in our eyes. He has no obligation to answer for being God.