For many folks, the recent horrendous weather tragedies are part of their god’s plan to punish people for doing something bad. One never knows exactly who is being punished or why—just that God is mad. The insurance companies call these tragic events “acts of God.”
Lately there seems to be one disaster after another. Hurricane Harvey (with over fifty inches of steady rain), Hurricane Irma, and an 8.1-magnitude earthquake off Mexico’s southern coast as well as intense heat waves, deadly flooding, and thousands of fires have each left a wave of destruction that might take years to recover from.
Tragically, lives have been lost; but for survivors, it must be difficult to come to grips with knowing what was the norm last week might not even exist today. Last week, a family of four lived in a nice home, and this week they’re calling a cot in a National Guard Armory “home.” Helplessness prevails.
The question for so many is “Why?” or “Why me?” Too many religious leaders might say it’s because of disobedient people or racists or not doing God’s will. Some might even say it’s because of the acceptance of the LGBTQIA community. On and on goes the speculation, none of which I believe.
What do I think?
Do you remember years ago when Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a best seller called When Bad Things Happen to Good People about the death of a young son? My answer to the question of why tragedy strikes is that’s life! Stuff happens.
Years ago, I promoted the theistic god of so many religions to be the god of the entire universe and its two to four trillion (that’s twelve zeros) galaxies each with some one hundred billion (only nine zeroes) stars. With this number in mind, I want to take you to Waikiki Beach in Hawaiʻi and take one grain of sand, which represents the Earth in relationship to the universe. This grain allows us to see how unimportant and insignificant we are in the big scheme. All these nasty weather events simply translate into this: Creation is creating. People happen to be in its way.
I live in California close to a fault line, which for years has been promising to produce a humongous earthquake. I have chosen to live there, and this time tomorrow I too could be homeless.
However, I do have two tools—my foundation stones—to do life. No one can ever take them away from me. One is my faith based on my guru, Jesus, my Christ. His message to me is that I can do anything, even move mountains, if I base my life on agape love. My second tool is my education and ability to use critical thinking. With these tools, I can resolve any issue, and this has worked well in my life so far.
But right now, my biggest issue is identifying what I can do to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by these “acts of God” as they try to figure out how to start over.
First, I need to get out our checkbook and send money to support organizations that are on location. Annie and I can then go to a discount store and buy supplies for our church’s Boy Scout troop and youth group, which are putting together emergency kits to go to Florida. Next, we’re off to Costco to purchase water and other staples to take to our daughter’s work, a large moving company that is sending a couple of moving vans filled with supplies to the devastation sites in Texas.
Remember, stuff happens. Keep moving forward.
A question for my readers: when the big one (whatever it is) hits, what tools do you have to meet it head-on?
Photo in the public domain courtesy of the SC National Guard.