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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Focal Point (for publishing—22/02/11)

Where is God when it hurts?

Last week we sat back in horror as, one after another, stories in the news came out about twin boys being burnt in a fire in a shed, a baby being run over in the family driveway and people shot, stabbed and suffering greatly in car accidents. Then we had the sickening attacks on elderly ladies. Only a few weeks before that we witnessed one of the most powerful cyclones Australia has ever seen and a few weeks before that the Queensland floods. How much can a tough Aussie take, at least I like to think of myself as tough but all I did was watch it on TV. What must the pain be like for the mother of the child in the driveway, or the person who has lost their home or more particularly their children or spouse or family in the fires and floods? I can only guess.

Of course there are ever-present losses that still present great pain, that are for example, the loss of relationships. Sometimes the pain is no less but it doesn’t get the coverage or the attention. As a Christian leader there are often questions put to me, e.g. why does God let this happen? Or how could a loving God allow this? And some even say He brings it upon us as retribution for our sins of omission or commission. It looks like a minefield. However as I struggle with the question myself I can only work from what I know and not from what I don’t. What I do know is gleaned from the manual of life, the instruction book, the Bible, and I read there that God primarily loves and protects His prized creation and will do so at all times where He is allowed to work. You might ask, what area is there that He cannot work in. The answer is based on the premise that He created humankind with a freewill to chose to follow His instructions or not. After all He and we would not like us to be simply robots. However many choose not to follow the instructions, and the consequences are often horrendous and very painful to themselves and others. For instance the person who chooses to drink and drive and crashes into another vehicle may well kill or maim for life, themselves and or others. At that point some families will have to live the rest of their lives without a family member. We can replicate this scenario over and over again with sexual abuse, domestic violence and culpable driving to name a few.

Where is God when it hurts? He is agonizing over His dear loved children, wanting to hold them tight in their pain and fear and loss and tell them He will always be there for them. How can we hear that voice? How can we feel those arms? By throwing ourselves on Him because after all, to whom else can we turn in those deep times when no one really seems to understand. Many people I sit with in grief really only want an empathetic presence with few words. Words seem so inadequate anyway. Jerry White, the former CEO of Navigators worldwide (a Christian organization), was asked to conduct the funeral for the family of the first US airman to be shot down in Iraq. The family asked him to do it because they knew that his son was brutally murdered at work some years before. They thought he could identify with their grief more closely. Sometimes it takes the testimony of one who has felt the arms of God around them and has heard that voice, to journey best with the grieving and to effectively point the way. I have been on both ends and I’m so glad that I had support and eventually ‘heard’ and ‘felt’.

Try Him out. May God bless you with His peace, as strange as that may seem in the middle of your turmoil.

Graeme Dawson B.Min. Grad.Dip.CC.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Clinical Counsellor
0409 517273


Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009