Call me ignorant, but I used to think that Sumatra was just a name for coffee. Yes, I know that coffee comes from specific growing regions, but for some reason, I never really associated an actual place with the coffee (Sumatra is a bold-bold-bold coffee that taste a little like dirt). But now Sumatra, along with several other southeast Asian countries have been severely affected by this tsunami, and I find myself appalled by the devastation that’s been created.

I have to abandon the idea that events such as these are a part of “God’s plan,” because I can’t stomach the idea that human suffering, is scripted for his entertainment…judgement…what…?! I can’t even ask why anymore. It’s not the right question, and it’s one that I will probably never have the answer to. But what is the right question? Which question will give me an answer I can process at least process? What can I match with the Way of peace, hope, and love?

Why is it that when I go to Atlanta on a chilly night, and a retarded homeless man approaches me (and it’s not as if I’m alone, I’m in a group of people and relatively safe), that I don’t even look at him, try to ignore him, and drive away complaining about no places being open late enough to get some decent food and a rum and coke? How is it possible that I can have Christ inside of me and then do such a thing? I’m angry at my own helplessness, angry because I feel completely impotent in a situation like that…I could’ve given him money that would’ve only temporarily solved the problem. I could’ve offered to pray for him, which is a useless offer to someone who is cold and hungry. I could’ve done something…but what can I do that will really HELP? I didn’t even try to help though. I did nothing. And the longer I sit avoiding my conscience, the more I fester.

Yes, there is pain and suffering in the world, and it is not likely to go away. What do you do with that? What do you do? I know that growth cannot occur unless something is broken. Works that way with seeds, works that way with our muscles, works that way with life. But something can break so much that despair takes over, or mutilation occurs, and no life comes out of that. Where is the line drawn?

I can’t allow myself to get overwhelmed by the world this way. I don’t even want to allow myself to get overwhelmed by God. This may sound heretical, but I could be overwhelmed by Jesus. He makes more sense to me then the idea of “G-d” ever will.

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One Response to Sumatra

  1. Mike Morrell says:

    Where _is_ God in the Tsunami? Three thoughts:

    NT Wright The Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams)
    John Piper Note: the tone and answer of Piper is significantly different than that of Wright’s and Williams’s

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