In the recent earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand and the tsunami that hit Sendai Japan, many people lost their family and friends. It would not have been surprising at all if people who were grieving became angry with God for these tragedies. It is not only in such catastrophe that faith is challenged but also in everyday life people encounter situations where they would wish that God did not allow such an event to take place.
When the disciples were in the boat with Jesus crossing the lake, a great windstorm arose and shook the boat. They woke Jesus up to ask him “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind and then there was calm. How many of us would wish that Jesus could do the same when we find ourselves crossing a storm. People find themselves piled with one problem after another and sometimes cornered to the point of saying “Why is God doing this to me?”
I have always found it extremely hard when faced with this question. One can quite easily say “trust God and everything will be OK” but when it does not become OK, what do you say? Faced with such daunting situations, it is only faith that can carry us through.
Looking at the world around us, we see so many uncertainties of the future that are caused by inflation, political instability, environmental abuse, etc. In the midst of all there uncertainties, it is not surprising that we too may ask, “Lord, do you not care?”
Our lives may not be free of trouble and we may not understand why we have to endure suffering at times. Blessed John Paul II towards the end of his pontificate, often repeated theses words, “Be not afraid”. In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he says “the exhortation “Be not afraid!” should be interpreted as having a very broad meaning. In a certain sense it was an exhortation addressed to all people, an exhortation to conquer fear in the present world situation, as much in the East as in the West, as much in the North as in the South. Have no fear of that which you yourselves have created, have no fear of all that man has produced, and that every day is becoming more dangerous for him! Finally, have no fear of yourselves!” Maybe it is in the time of uncertainty that we need to remind ourselves…. Be not afraid!