“There, But For The Grace of God…”

While I would never seek to take away any kind of spiritual solace people such as those suffering in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I am always so astounded when people say things like “there, but for the grace of God go I” or even “God saved me from losing my life in the rubble.”

What kind of God provides grace for some and not for others? Is that what we mean by “grace?” What kind of God saves one and abandons another? Not the God I have come to know and love through Jesus Christ!

I will not even bother to comment on “Christian” comments like Pat Robertson’s that this disaster was somehow God’s punishment on the people of Haiti. Or the young men I sat next to at a bar the other day who were talking about how “those people deserved what they got…all that AIDS down there and all…”

“Natural disasters” are always the hardest for me to understand. One killed by a drunk driver is a tragedy, but we know who was responsible. A smoker dying of lung cancer is so sad…but we know why…and so do they

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunames and the like are harder. Part of the brokenness of creation, I guess. Or, part of the ongoing creative process and formation of the earth. But people sometimes get in the way. People live (or are forced to live) in the wrong places and under difficult circumstances. And they suffer or lost their lives because of it.

When there is apparently no one at “fault,” I guess we can lay the blame at God’s doorstep (talk about the ultimate “buck stopping here!”). But, when we meditate on the Cross, and hear the Incarnate God crying out in forsakenness, perhaps we are able to hear that God crying along with us and with the innocent victims, even as he provides “real” Grace in the time of their need.

“That We All May Be One” takes on a different tone in times like this. May we indeed Be One with those who suffer in Haiti and around the world. And may we know that we are all in need of God’s grace — all of us…at all times…

2 Responses to ““There, But For The Grace of God…””

  1. Bob MacDonald Says:

    We studied Psalm 90-91 last night, and I was struck with one of the many promises at the end of Psalm 91 – I will be with him in trouble. There is trouble everywhere and the poem does not promise we will escape it but that the presence of God will be in the trouble also – so it is that the hands and feet of humanity carry the presence into the midst of all disasters personal or otherwise.

  2. Bishop Chris Epting Says:

    Yes, thanks Bob, just the kind of thing I was searching for…

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