Q: Many have criticized Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was the work of the devil or a form of divine punishment. But if one believes God is good and intervenes in the world, why does God allow innocents to suffer? What is the best scriptural text or explanation of that problem you’ve ever read?
Now is not the moment to moralize. Such massive suffering overwhelms us. Families are overwrought by a tsunami of grief. There is only one thing to do now: comfort the living, grieve for the dead, help the homeless and injured. Suffering and such suffering is a mystery hard for us to probe. It may even be beyond our understanding. The call now is to unite ourselves to it, that is the only way to understand it. Help, console, work, be silent with the suffering and then, wait. Something always flowers from the ashes.
Some 200,000 dead, so many orphans, so much anguish. We would not be human if we did not suffer. We would not be human if we did not suffer with them. Their grief draws something out of us, something precious. The whole world reaches out to comfort Haiti with hands, prayers, words, actions. Suffering overwhelms us like a wave, but it cannot defeat us. Those who love suffer. Those who love much suffer much. It’s part of the human calculus. Ours is not to judge things we cannot totally understand in the present moment. Why did Jesus choose to die such a terrible death, in front of his own mother? Love is stronger than death, it cannot be defeated.