Sunday, September 04, 2005

Feeling Abandoned

There are those who hear stories of natural disasters and ask us “Where is your God now?”

I don’t have a good response to that question. All I know is that there are reasons why the laws of nature are in place. We can’t see the big picture. We don’t know what further disasters would result if these laws were suspended. And the result is that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Natural disasters do not challenge my belief in God. What does challenge my faith is to see the high winds and floods, and then see no one acting in the name of God to offer help.

If I witnessed no response from those who are safe, then I would say that there is no such thing as a compassionate God.

Some wonder about the anger and rage they hear from the victims in New Orleans. Some think the mayor went a bit over the top. I recognize this rage. It springs from feeling abandoned.

When I was young, I spent some years as a throw away kid. My friends were also throw aways. We had no families to speak of. Some of us lived on the street, depending on the kindness of strangers. Often those acts of kindness were few and far between.

As the years went by, the feeling of being abandoned by society grew into a burning rage. Acts of rebellion, and sometimes violence, felt very satisfying. We were of no worth to anyone. We were expendable. We had been abandoned. Sometimes, just to prove we really existed, we lashed out.

Yes, I recognize the rage I see in the faces on the news. And it saddens me. It also frightens me. Because here’s the truth of my experience; when one meets rejection and abandonment at every turn, eventually you have to face the possibility that you have been abandoned by God. There is no creature more dangerous in all of creation than a human who is convinced that they have been damned for all time.

We must quickly respond to this disaster, not just for their sake, or for God’s sake, but for our own sake as well.


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