The Pastor's Peace - April, 2011
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As we watch the tragedy in Japan unfold, we are left with a sense of helplessness. We are not able to solve their nuclear crisis. We are not able to bring back their thousands of dead. We are unable to change the destruction to both their homes and their hearts that will be remembered and felt for decades to come. Some in Japan have called it the greatest destruction since the atomic bombings of WWII. What are we to do in the face of such destruction? The recent devastations in Japan, Haiti, and Indonesia, have killed half a million people and left scars across the face of our earth.

Such times make us wonder perhaps if there even is a God. It brings to mind the great lament psalms describing a people calling out to God, crying to God to end their suffering. The last verses of Psalm 88 describe what many in Japan must be feeling. "Your wrath has swept over me; your dread assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; from all sides they close in on me. You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me; my companions are in darkness." As much as we want to be in control of our lives, of the world around us, we are not. We are always at the mercy of God, and should you think this is not true, you will be convinced otherwise at some point in your life, of this I can guarantee.
I do not have an answer for why tragedy befalls us, but I can tell you that God is with us. We are not in control, but we are not alone. As desperate as the author of Psalm 88 was, the simple composing and pronouncement of such a prayer acknowledges God's presence. Lent offers us an opportunity to remember our relationship with God, to remember that before any crisis, during, and after, God is still with us. It is often our arrogance, arrogance that we are in control, arrogance that all of our blessings are of our own creation, arrogance that we are self sufficient in every way that leads us astray, away from God.

When we believe the falsehood that we direct our own lives, then in tragedies such as Japan we are left in utter helplessness and alone because we have failed to see God and God's children in our lives. However, if we renew our relationship with God, if we recognize the importance and our reliance upon the body of Christ, the people around us, then we are never alone. We are never helpless. We are surrounded by the love and light of Christ no matter the darkness. We have the hope of the resurrection, despite the cross. No matter what you struggle with this Lent, no matter what despair you are in, remember God is with you; have hope, know you are never alone, together we will wait for the first light of the dawning of Easter.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian