Good grief! I write about Job, and the next thing I know, something very Job-like happens to the people of the Gulf Coast.
I felt I should say something about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. I've been watching and listening to news reports sporadically. I'm ashamed to say I didn't realize how bad the damage was at first. I don't watch much television, finding most of it a colossal waste of time. In my blissful ignorance, I was vaguely aware that a hurricane was bearing down on New Orleans, but when I did watch and see--my God! The Gulf Coast, or what's left of it, looks like Bangladesh or Afghanistan or some other third world country that Americans can usually conveniently ignore because it's on the other side of the world. It's hard to ignore tonight. All the broadcast networks are airing a benefit concert to raise money for the survivors.
For awhile, I was back to asking God that angry, accusing "Why? How could you allow this to happen?" An answer came to me. I don't know how orthodox it is, strictly speaking, but it seems to make sense to me.
Perhaps God allows crises and disasters like hurricanes as tests--not necessarily of the person directly suffering from the disaster, but as tests of the people AROUND the person suffering. It seems as if God is saying to Christians, "OK, you people who are always talking about love and compassion and service, you people are you going to show love and compassion and give service when the need for these things is so obvious?" Christians are supposed to show practical charity (e.g., Matt. 25:31-46, Lk. 10:25-37, James 2:14-17), and we're judged on how well we respond to another's need.
I spent most of last weekend getting my personal finances in order so I can figure out how much of a donation I can give to the Red Cross or Catholic Charities or SOMEBODY. It's a small response but I felt I had to do something.