"Is God ticked off?" asked the Fox News anchor in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami and Pakistan earthquake. Together these disasters had swallowed 373,000 lives!
Father Jonathan was supposed to answer that question in under 30 seconds, live on camera.
We should all be able to agree that when Cho Seung-Hui pulled the trigger and took 32 innocent lives back on April 16, 2007, it wasn't God's fault. "Free will is a free gift, but its consequences are not cheap," wrote Father Jonathan later in his book "The Promise" on human suffering. But he goes on:
But let's not let God off the hook so easy. If he is all-loving and all-powerful, why didn't he think of a backup plan, knowing we would choose selfishness over obedience? And besides, what about all the suffering caused by so-called acts of God like tsunamis and earthquakes?
To make the problem more pointed, if God is all-powerful then he COULD have kept a Hurricane Sandy from causing $20 Billion in damage and claiming already more than 122 innocent lives - he must have just not wanted to!
Again, if God is all-loving, we assume, then he WANTS to keep our homes intact and our loved ones alive - he must simply not be ABLE to.
It seems to make perfect sense - we see the damage and come to a clear-cut solution, either God is not all-loving, or he is not all-powerful ... or both!
Unless ... and here's the rub ... as Father Jonathan puts it: unless "God could bring out a greater good - something even better than the good that has been lost - from every case of suffering and evil. This is the Promise! It is God's response to a world that hurts."
Just because you understand it, doesn't mean the pain will go away. If you are hurting, either from Hurricane Sandy, or from depression, or from the lose of a loved one, or from the billions of things that make us humans break down and cry, I suggest you grab a copy of Father's book. It might just change your life.
If it does nothing else, it will at least fill you with the hope of what is to come.
"We do not have a solution... to the problem of suffering unless someday suffering is no more."
Fr. Nathan is editor of www.formationtoolbox.comThis Catholic Formation Service is
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