People are quick to ask where God is when disaster strikes. It is difficult to not need an explanation, a reason, or at the very least someone to blame. Having any piece of the puzzle helps us process. If we can’t process, we remain in a loop of unease and contention. We just need to know why.
Placing blame helps. Any kid caught doing something naughty understands this as they point to the next closest kid. A sibling works even better. Have we not been preconditioned that “the buck stops somewhere”? Other than the next closest kid, blame is often placed on one of two places.
Ultimately, you can only really blame the one who could have stopped it from happening in the first place. And so God is often the last One left to blame, especially when it comes to catastrophe. Why else is it called an “act of God”? I have found this increasingly difficult the more I get to know God personally. Don’t you find this to be the case in our people relationships? The more you get to know someone, the less gossip you believe about them? It is a character thing.
As we find out in the Psalms, God very much loves justice and hates evil. The list of references would take up the rest of this post, plus a few more. God promises us one day that justice will be administered for every unjust act against the defenseless, every drop of spilled blood that soaks the ground, every victim’s cry that reaches heaven.
Every single one.
This should concern a lot of people. Of course, the really bad perpetrators give no thought to God, let alone the consequences, eternal nor temporary. So, if we don’t blame God, who? Some who do give thought to God are quick to insulate Him from accusation and blame by offering up the next closest sinner. In catastrophe, whether natural or man made, sinners are often pointed out as the existential culprits. “We are all reaping the consequences of their sin!”
Unfortunately, God’s reputation as a “sinner-loving God” gets tarnished by the very ones commissioned to speak for Him. This begs the question, has God even asked us to defend His apparent inaction in disaster? Have we not enough on our plate in testifying to His apparent action on the Cross on behalf of all, especially the next closest sinner? We conveniently forget Jesus own words when it comes to placing blame,
“The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?”
(Matthew 7:2-4 NLT)
The point is that we are all sinners, no matter our choices, culture, or religious practice. We all are somewhat blinded with something. And we all own the affects of sin on creation, which groans with us for that coming day. Fortunately, we don’t need to fear any fingers pointed our way. Jesus took the blame.