FINDING FAITH in the ASHES
by Richard B. Patterson
For centuries, faith has been sorely tested in the face of senseless tragedy, particularly when that faith includes a belief in a loving God. And so it is that, on 9/11/01 and since then, many believers are crying out "Where is God in the midst of the ashes of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?"
The feeling that one's faith has been shaken to its foundations is normal since the question of why God permits senseless suffering has been with us as long as the idea of the God of Love has been around. In fact, C.S. Lewis observed that a belief in a loving God creates the problem of pain.
Sacred writings are filled with persons of faith trying to grasp tragedy. How do some of them react? Job undergoes the most devastating tragedies, losing everything. How does he react? With anger! In fact, he was so angry that he demanded that God show up and explain Himself. And God shows up! Take note that Job is never punished for his anger, an important lesson for us during these times.
In the face of such crises of faith, people often have two reactions: 1. anger at God and 2. judgment of himself or herself for either that anger or at least the doubt that comes with senseless tragedy. So as each of us struggles with what has happened this week, I would offer the following thoughts:
Where is God in the ashes? So far the only answers that work for me are these:
I encourage you to struggle to find an answer that works for you. The Journey of Faith, after all, is never a smooth one.
Richard B. Patterson is a clinical psychologist in private practice in El Paso, TX. He is the author of three books on psychology and spirituality.
We make every effort to present accurate information, but you may find errors or mischievous material.
Copyright 1994 - 2009
Pioneer Development Resources, Inc.
All rights reserved.