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Biblical proportions

Haven't written about Hurricane Katrina since she cut a swath of devastation that continues to hemorrhage. In large part, that's because I'm not honestly sure how much there really is to say from my vantage point. In some respects, pontificating about horror or heroism from my relatively stable, secure, comfortable, and privileged life seems like a sham. And on the other hand, some of the places within me where this crisis finds resonance are too personal to share openly.

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.


Beautifully put, Lee.
I've found His Spirit very beautiful in your service to Adam during all this.
How many more Adams are out there that we can actually and physically help out? I would like to come across more....
Seriously, I think it was more fun doing it that it will be for him to check his paypal account. I almost feel selfish for having done it! :)
Yeah, I will "amen" with you. This is an extremely Godly event, and a truly honest look at what's going on will cause us to cast ourself on His mercy -- in faith. I've shed many tears. But He is great! Of all places to find understanding and comfort, Romans 10 has been one of the dearest.

I probably won't write about Katrina because I don't make sense. :-)

You Yancey in disguise?

Some of this makes me think of a book I halfway scanned..."Disappointment with God." Yancey talks of world disasters and pain (inside, not just outside) and how we are often disappointed when we put God into our expectations. Really, it's interesting as the book shows God's patience with us...(actually, the Bible does this), that God has given us many different chances to come to him and we are often unmoved. Because of something inside us (selfishness, sin, greed, whatever) we don't respond to God as we should when he touches our lives. We have been given a chance in America to turn to him, to beg for His mercy (not just as a nation, but as individuals). It seems there is barely a mention of God anywhere in this, and we aren't out begging for mercy. Will this tradgedy change us and turn us to God, or will we forge ahead and pull ourselves up just trying to do it all alone? Will we force God to bring on more and more in order to break our hearts?
I just love you Noodle. I do.
My thoughts exactly. I haven't said anything because I can't put into words what I really mean to say. Thanks for doing it for me.
You said everything that I've been thinking...just a little bit more gracefully. :o) Well put. This is definitely a God thing.
Clearly God allowed this. I tend to struggle with the pains God allows. This time it is only reflected by the fact that I am mostly at a loss about how to pray for the victims. It seems off somehow to ask for God's help when He allowed it. I would like to have this sort of thing better worked out, it trips me too often.
That's why I'm glad we have Scripture—we have so many examples of people praying for God's mercy for others that it's clear God honors and even intends for us to do this, despite what may seem like a contradiction.

Even so, it's very overwhelming. Our hearts break because He's given us compassion, and He's given us compassion so that we can seek His mercy for others and do the good we can.
Reading your response indicates to me that praying despite the apparent contradiction is an act of faith - that helps.

Thank you Obi. Really.