Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
God wants to help, but we've told him to piss off. That whole "free will" thing. Anyone seen the movie "Bruce Almighty"? There's one scene where God is giving Bruce his power for a week, but warns him of a few basic rules, one of which is that you can't make someone do anything they don't want to. Bruce asks "Can I ask why?" and God says "Yes you can. That's the point!"
You can't get something for nothing, even in the theological world. And let's face it, when you look at what God says he wants us to do and what he doesn't want us to do, it's pretty simple. It's not like he wants you to ride a unicycle while reciting the Gettysburg Address and juggling flaming chainsaws in order to get into Heaven. But what he asks requires discipline. Don't murder. Don't steal. Honor your parents. Don't cheat on your spouse. Be honest. Help each other out.
Seems to me like there's a huge portion of the world that has a problem with all of that. And most of what He asks goes against the whole "If it feels good, do it" midset that permeates modern society today.
While I am a religious man, I'm certainly not the best person to give religious advice. Mr. Poretto from Eternity Road is someone I try to read on a regular basis, not only for his insight but for his Sunday Ruminations, which contain his thoughts on religion. We're both Catholics, and we both spent a period of time away from the Church. At least, I believe we both did. I know I spent a number of years staying away from any house of worship, and if I read his posts correctly so did he. In any case, my Chaplain (who will be retiring shortly to my dismay) has always stated that you can't expect God to give you the world if you don't even bother to ask for it. And what is prayer but a request to God? "Dear Lord, help me get through this trial" has got to be one of the most often uttered prayers in the history of human speech. But how many people even ask for that much? And then they get pissed off when God doesn't fix things. "How can God let this happen? Doesn't he care?" Yes, he does care, but the element of free will means that YOU and ONLY YOU can control what happens. God doesn't stick his fingers into things willy-nilly. God doesn't just say "You know what? I think I'll make Dave a rich SOB today."
As far as I'm concerned, I'm rich already. I own ten acres of land. I have a wonderful wife. And I have a job that I can hold my head up while doing and say "I make a difference." How many people can say that? Oh, I may bitch and moan quite a bit, but I have to pull myself back every now and then and say "You know what, Dave? You've got it pretty damn good. Sure, life could be better, but life can ALWAYS be better. That's just life. Appreciate what you have before you start demanding more."
I think this is the longest post I've ever written on a religious subject. At least on a personal level.