(This will not be a discussion of the vexing question "how can a good editor allow bad letters to be published?")In response to the exchange of letters to the editor mentioned previously, Victor submitted this one:
"David Harris (Letters, March 27) asks for my thoughts on God and the 2004 tsunami. I don't think there is an answer that could wipe away the tears of pain and grief of those left. To explain it away would make a mockery of such awful suffering and would imply that this tragedy was somehow useful, even good. Does a child who crashes her bike question the goodness, let alone the existence, of her father? No, she wants comfort now and the promise that all will be well. In the death of Jesus, God enters into the pain and brokenness of our world. God himself has suffered with us. In Jesus' bodily resurrection God offers hope that one day He will renew and heal a suffering world. Does the tsunami raise lots of questions about God? Yes, of course. But it makes me long even more for the day when God will wipe away every tear. That promise gives me and the church the strength to do all we can to stand in love and service with this hurting world."Unfortunately, he didn't get this one published (too long? too much theology?). However, having posted on this topic a number of times, I thought his reply expressed two important thoughts coherently and briefly: (a) God is not distant or uncaring in the face of our pain; and (b) there is more to come. Both points arise from reflecting upon the good news about Jesus, rather than any abstract philosophical notions of God's "control". Yet perhaps even more importantly, Vic's letter doesn't assume that it is possible to give an answer now that will satisfy. The faithful response in the face of evil is not to seek to explain it (away), but to grieve with those who grieve.
Eight points for the first to link to the original picture on which I offered points and started this whole game.