Kenneth Nguyen (Opinion, 30/12) thoughtfully ponders the impact of Sunday’s tsunami on people’s beliefs. He more than fairly asks how this awful event sits with faith in a good God who is involved in the world. As a follower of Christ I wonder myself.
Perhaps it’s worth reflecting, though, that on past performance those most affected by this tragedy may be the least likely to ask such questions. However numbing the sheer scale of this single event, the essence of what has occurred is no different from the grief and mortality faced daily by billions of people through poverty, disease, malnourishment, poor hygiene and political unrest. If they don’t encounter death on this scale in a day they’ll surely face it in their short lifetimes.
For all that, believers in such places, though perhaps puzzled by what happens, have persisted for generations in the conviction that God is not only there but is good and on their side. To contemplate otherwise would be unthinkable. It would mean no prospect of ever receiving justice, vindication or blessing, whether in this life or in eternity.
In the Bible Job, as Nguyen observes, contemplated God’s power for destruction. Yet in faith he looked with confidence to a glorious day when he would see God (Job 19:25-27). Sipping coffee in suburban Melburnian comfort I, like Kenneth Nguyen, can afford to question God’s character and existence. Few of my brothers and sisters in Asia can afford such indulgence. Life is harder; but faith is somehow surer.