It may look as though I've been ignoring Hurricane Katrina and its devastation. I haven't written about it, and I really haven't talked much about it either. Mainly I think I'm still processing my feelings. It's impossible to ignore something this huge. It's impossible not to stop and think "What if that were me?" "What if I were separated from my husband?" "What if it was my child that died?" That's a lot to take in. My words of sympathy and concern really can't compare to the images of destruction that we've all seen over the past two weeks. But for what it's worth, I do care, I am saddened and I pray for the thousands of people who will start their lives all over again.
And then tonight, my family and I settled in to watch the inevitable celebrity benefit concert. I'm thankful that they do their part (as they should) and I know they will raise some much needed funding to help those in need. But as I watched, I couldn't help questioning the message. Something just didn't match up. I wondered how am I supposed to explain this type of thing to my son as he gets older?
"You see, Isaiah, it's not okay to have the name of God engraved on any public buildings. It's against the law to talk to Him when you're in school. You really don't have any right to talk openly about your belief in God because somehow just the mere mention of that belief infringes on the rights of others to not believe. In fact, it's best if you just cut God out of every aspect of your life completely. Until, of course, something bad happens. When there's tragedy or disaster, that's when you should call on God and expect Him to be there. Even after you've ignored Him and cursed His name every step of the way, you should expect His prompt attention to your need."
I can't count the number of times I've heard people say that they don't go to church and they can't stand Christianity because of the hypocrisy. But who's the real hypocrite here? If we treated anyone else in our lives with the disdain and anger that we point at God, we wouldn't dare expect them to turn around and help us. Why is it different with God?
What I want my son to know about God is what the bible teaches. He is love. He is forgiveness. There is nothing that can ever separate us from Him except our own choice. He wants what's best for us and He's willing to give it as long as we're willing to let go of what we think is best for ourselves. It's really quite simple.
In the midst of all the news reports about how slowly our country responded to the victims of the hurricane, there are plenty of unreported stories about neighbors helping neighbors and people sacrificing of themselves to help their fellow man. These are the stories of hope. These are examples of people who recognize grace in their lives. These are the stories that exemplify God's love by sharing it. And because hope, grace and love are things that, by nature, point to God, these are the stories you'll never hear.
Thankfully, I don't have to teach my child according to the media. Because I know God through a personal relationship, I can tell my son about all that He's done in my life. I can say with confidence that He was there in New Orleans when the hurricane hit, and He's still there now. Those who know Him know that faith and hope cannot be drowned, even in the tallest of hurricane waters. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Thanks for listening.