Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear God: Why doubts creep in

Notions of a good, provident God who honors human generosity certainly get shaken by news like this:

"In the aftermath of the September temblor, Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews challenged Anglicans there to raise $100,000 for earthquake relief in Haiti in thanksgiving that no one was killed in the quake. The magnitude-7 Jan. 12 Haiti quake killed [between] 250,000 and 300,000 people. To date, only a small percentage of the rubble has been cleared away and a million people still live in makeshift camps. In the end, the diocese raised just more than US$120,000, which was disbursed via several major aid agencies."

That's the same thankful, compassionate and generous Christchurch that just suffered another earthquake, this one a killer. The same Diocese whose Cathedral is heavily damaged.

Yes, there is the Christian spirituality of giants like Mother Teresa, who could find the closeness of Christ by walking with suffering people. Christchurch, from that perspective, is much closer to Port au Prince via today's disaster than by last year's distribution of relief money.

But we know that Mother Teresa had her seasons of doubt, too:

"Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love — and now become as the most hated one — the one — You have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone ... Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony."

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