Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Messages from God

Jon at Stuff Christians Like has a funny post today about making Christian references to the Icelandic volcano. (That's what I call it - "the Icelandic volcano." I certainly can't pronounce its name.)

Fifteen weeks ago I was in a large, apocalyptic natural disaster. It has been fascinating to me to hear the messages from God that various people have discerned in this event. Some of them have been painful to hear or read about. God's punishment? God's way of getting the world to pay attention to Haiti? God's way of speeding up adoptions?

I don't know what was in God's mind on January 12th. I don't know if He was sending us messages. I know I have learned a huge amount since that day, about myself, about the world, about my marriage and my family and my friendships. I believe that my life is a gift from God. But are all those things messages from God, messages He sent through the earthquake?

I don't know what the meaning was. I don't think I ever will.

Do the recent earthquakes, and now the volcano, mean that the world is about to end, that justice and mercy are about to take over, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that God will make all things new? I sure would love that. But that's what everyone thought after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 and Lisbon earthquake in 1755, and the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD. We're still here, staggering along, trying to figure things out day by day.

Here's what the book of Hebrews says about messages from God:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

There's a message I can understand. It's a message of love and of redemption. It's a message of hope. Holding on to the Son, I can go on.


Tricia said...

A while back, in one of my NPR podcasts, I heard a piece with Rabbi Kushner, the When Bad Things Happen to Good People author. He talks about how God doesn't arbitrarily interfere with laws of nature. When I listened to it, I wondered whether or not it (and the theology expressed in it more broadly) would resonate with you.

Here's part of it, although I don't think it's a complete transcript of the interview so you should perhaps listen to hear the entire piece: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124582959


Tricia said...

p.s. I also heard this one by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:


Janet said...

You might enjoy Dallas Willard's 'Hearing God.' I'm reading it right now and finding it very good and challenging... It's about learning to recognize the voice of God.

One of the things he mentions is 'Bible deism' -- the (mistaken) belief that God has spoken through the Bible, then left, essentially. I know you're not saying that in this post -- you're not saying God never speaks except through his written word. But still, what you say makes me think of it.

Sometimes when I feel cynical (or just bewildered) about all the claims people make to be speaking for God, I grab hold of that verse about "these latter days" as a way of dismissing them all. But I know it's more complex than that, and Willard is doing justice to the subject.