Already it has begun! The “God-talk” has begun about the tornadoes hitting Southern Indiana. God being both credited for it not hitting the more populated cities, and for individuals people not being in it’s path. And also by those who explain them by saying God has a plan in sending them here and if we look for it – it will be revealed. I usually keep mouth shut. Not wanting to tell people their theology is faulty. But I just want to shout “God is not the weather fairy!” God does not pull all the strings of life and decide such things as weather patterns, or who will die today or who will not.
God is the creator not the puppeteer. The natural disasters happen based on the way in which the nature world has unfolded and the laws that under gird it. In some cases it reflects how we interact with the creation – strip mining – unsustainable forestry practices; polluting the water and air, etc.. Tornadoes are the result of winds, air masses and temperature not a divine decision to send a little uncertainty and terror our way. I cannot credit God with St Paul’s not being in the path of one of these destructive forces. But I can ask God to be with those who are facing the results of this massive destruction and loss.
God is not the Wizard of Oz manipulating things so as to effect or manipulate us or our lives. The promise Jesus gave us was Emmanuel – God with us. The promise is presence. Is walking with us, not causing us the problems we face as some sort of test.
Strange how people are willing to attribute to God activities and attitudes we would find despicable in another human being.
So why do we pray for God to help? Because I believe that prayer unleashes spiritual power into creation. I believe that God can, and does, work though people.. A couple at St Paul’s have been hauling car loads of supplies to the several local shelters. A contractor brought his crew in after the destruction yesterday to help search and do what they could to help. God is present in the police, fire fighters, EMTs, and other first responders. Prayer also helps me hear my own concerns and if I say it often enough may goad me into action to help make what I pray for a reality.
So where is God – not here doing it to us – but in here with us!