- Vernon Grounds
Was God sadistically absent? That’s what Robert McClory, professor emeritus of journalism at the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, asked after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area of the US.
We may want to try to exonerate the Almighty for permitting disasters that rip apart vulnerable communities. But is God absent in such situations? No, McClory insists. Talking about the Katrina tragedy, he said that God was invisibly present “with the suffering and the dying. He was in the individuals, communities, churches, and schools that organized aid for the victims and took evacuees into their cities and homes. He was with the ￼￼hundreds of thousands who showed compassion by prayer and financial assistance.”
So it is in our own lives when a heartbreaking tragedy occurs, such as the death of someone we love. We have no completely satisfactory answer to life’s painful problems. We do know, however, that the Lord is present with us, for He said He would never leave us (Heb. 13:5). Jesus’ name “Immanuel” literally means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
Even though suffering baffles our minds, we can trust God to be near and to work out His purposes.
God’s unseen presence comforts me,
I know He’s always near;
And when life’s storms besiege our soul,
He says, “My child, I’m here.”
—D. De Haan
The storms of our life prove the strength of our Anchor.