This posting was inspired by a story told by Dr. Robert Schuller. The story goes thus:
“Benjamin Hirsch was a child during the Holocaust. He tells an insightful story about Baal Shem-Tov, the great rabbi who is considered the founder of the Hasidic movement.
Baal Shem-Tov was standing high on a hill with a couple of his students, looking down at the town where his school was. Suddenly, a group of Cossacks on horseback attacked the town.
As the rabbi saw many of his students along with the men, women, and children of the town being slaughtered, Baal Shem-Tov looked up to heaven and said, ‘Oh, if only I were God.’
One of his students said, with astonishment, ‘But, Master, if you were God, what would you do differently?’
The reply was, ‘If I were God, I would do nothing differently. If I were God, I would understand’.”
After every natural disaster, and every man-made disaster, for that matter, it is common to hear the question, “Why did God do this?” Or, “Why did God allow this to happen?” I think both questions are asked by our mind wanting to understand who’s to blame. After all, when we are powerless to do anything about an event, it seems to help if we at least know who to blame.
The first question mistakenly assumes that God is to blame. After all, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, etc., are natural acts. However, what we must remember is that God created a perfect world. It was only after Adam and Eve decided to listen to Satan instead of God, that sin entered the world and the earth became… less-than-perfect. God is not responsible for man’s sin and the broken-state of the world we find ourselves living in. We should blame Satan for that.
The second question is more difficult. “Why did God allow it to happen?” My answer is, I don’t know. Could He have stopped it? I have to say, “Yes”. God is God. And that, gives me my first clue to the answer.
We are trying to understand the mind of the One who spoke the Universe into creation and breathed life into the first man (and woman). Do you think, perhaps, we over-reach? I know I will never be able to fully wrap my mind around such events as the wanton killing of an infant, let alone something on the scale of a volcanic eruption or the Holocaust. In these situations something much larger than what I can see or understand is at work.
And, that makes absolutely critical one of the things I DO KNOW concerning how God thinks.
In the worst moments imaginable, God is still with me. He is always with me when I open my heart to Him. He is there in my blessings and He is there in my trials… whatever they may be. He is as close as an unspoken prayer. And, I take advantage of it… regularly.
Thank you, Jesus. You made me the way I am. Always seeking answers that frequently aren’t there. And, maybe, sometimes, that’s because I ask either the wrong questions or questions that are not within my understanding or “need to know”. Never-the-less, you’re always with me, loving me and guiding me. And, I think I’m getting better at knowing when to stop “digging”. Is that You, telling me it’s time to simply lay it at your feet, and turn confidently in a new direction? I’m thinking it is. I get it. Thank you Lord…