Friday, August 10, 2007

Where is God?

I just finished reading "Terrify No More" by Gary Haugen, the founder of the International Justice Mission. In this book Gary tells the story of what brought him to start IJM and about their investigation and intervention in a Cambodian village know for trafficking minors. In the final chapters Gary talked about the need for believers to be the hands and feet of God, acting out his justice in a suffering and corrupt world. He also looked back several decades to the atrocities that happened in the last century and talked about the atrocities that are happening now (slavery, sex trafficking, imprisonment, war) and charged his readers to be able to look the next generation in the eyes and tell them confidently, that we did not sit idly by, we gave up convenience and comfort to follow our loving God of justice into a world where suffering and oppression abounds, and did something.

There are still painful things of life I find myself arguing with God about, but these quarrels are less and less about injustice, and perhaps more about caner or mental illness or rain that come too late or too hard. No, for me, the great tragedies of abuse and oppression in our world are so clearly man-made disasters that I find it difficult to keep blaming God. Not only because it is men and women, not God, who perpetrate the abuses, but also because God has so clearly given men and women that power to stop the abuses. The little girls of Svay Pak were not suffering because of vague and inexplicable forces of nature. They were suffering because men and women with names and faces chose to beat them, rape them, and terrorize them. They suffered because men and women with names and faces chose to provide shelter and protection for the abusers. And at the end of the day, they suffered because the rest of us let it happen.
Given all the power and resources that God has placed in the hands of humankind, I have yet to see any injustice of humankind that could not also be stopped by humankind. I find myself sympathizing with a God who said "You have wearied the Lord with your saying...Where is the God of justice?" (Malachi 2:17). Increasingly, I feel quite sure of the where abouts of God. My tradition tells of a Father in heaven who refuses to love an unjust world from a safe distance, but took his dwelling among us to endure the humility of false arrests, vicious torture, and execution. This is the God who could be found as "a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (Isaiah 53:3). The more I have come to know him, the harder is has become for me to ask such a God to explain where he has been. In fact, surprisingly, I don't generally hear the victims of abuse doubting the presence of God either, Much more often I hear them asking me, "Where have you been?"

-Gary Haugen, Terrify No More

1 comment:

April said...

this really hit me...i'm going to use part of it in my own post. thanks, little k.
oh, and i thought of another name for your blog, even though i know you changed it could be said 2 ways:
'i've got pretty feet' or just
'pretty feet'
i have a friend who tattooed 'how lovely are the feet of them...' on her feet, too.