(I recently wrote this to a friend who sent an article questioning the goodness of God after the earthquakes in Haiti.)
I am always fascinated by views about the hand of God from people trying to figure out the heart of God. His goodness is always put under the microscope when circumstances prove to be difficult, as if His goodness can only be proven if our circumstances are going well. So if this is not about God’s goodness, then we try to reflect on our own goodness: did I do something to deserve this? Pat Robertson’s comments allude to this idea. But all our figuring and formulating about the correlation between God’s goodness and ours, I think, reflects the heart of our fallenness: we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and we’re trying to figure out how goodness saves us and helps us work around terrible tragedies. We assume that if God is good enough then He would save us from bad circumstances. If we were good enough God would bless us with good circumstances. This contradicts the Bible and who God says He is. He binds broken hearts, assuming that our hearts are broken. The people of Hebrews 11 (the “faith chapter”) were sometimes rewarded with good circumstances (see verses 33-34). Then, others of great faith “were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword.” The writer of Hebrews calls them, “men of whom the world was not worthy.”
The Haitian believers, standing in the street singing “great is our God in all things” as bodies are being pulled from wreckage are those whom the world is not worthy! They have challenged the practical side of my faith deeply and I feel a strong union of belief as they suffer. My prayer for them now is that those who call Jesus their Lord will be able to stand strong in their faith as the mob mentality sets in for food and basic needs. My heart stands with them as a new courage rises in me to be loving but uncompromising in my faith. I have so much. Many of them are keeping severed limbs attached with duct tape. It is not the circumstances that prove or disprove God’s goodness. It is the ability of God’s people to stand with assurance that God’s goodness is the bedrock of their hope that proves His goodness.