Have you ever wondered why there are so many tragedies in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there suffering if God is powerful?
I remember singing this song at Sunday school:
My God is so big,
so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His,
The oceans are His,
The stars are His handiwork too.
Can I sing this song to someone who has lost their loved ones through man-made or natural disaster?
Christians believe in a God who is loving and omnipotent. However, if we look at what is going on in the big and small corners of the world it is hard to acknowledge God’s presence. If God loves the world and the people in it, why does He just watch horrific tragedies to happen to the people who He calls His own. Why doesn’t He intervene at the right place and at the right time to stop or prevent such calamity? After all He is the author of the ten curses, dividing seas and raising the dead.
Where was the so big, so strong and so mighty God at 16:53 Tuesday, 12 January 2010at Haiti? After this very minute and very hour approximately 230,000 lives were taken in the Haiti earthquake.
Kent Annan is confronted with a crisis of faith. How should Christians interpret or understand such events as the earthquake of Haiti which took more than 200,000 lives? “Honest faith doesn’t deny God, but it doesn’t deny the uncertain and painful reality of life either,” he writes. So this book is about his honest search for faith and tries to answer this single question, “How can we be alive with honest faith?”
Kent gently nudges you to step outside of your comfort zone and into the abyss of hopelessness where God seems to be absent but he does it so gently you’re not frightened. His observations in Haiti, his personal encounters with the people after the adversity and his personal struggle and search to find meaning in faith is uplifting.
This book is not about finding answers. It’s about searching for honest faith. Through that honest search you might doubt, be angry, cry and even leave the walk of faith. But Kent argues “With every crisis of faith, what we believe is crucified, and then we wait expectantly, whether in defeat or in joyful hope, to see what part of our faith is resurrected.” This is what Kent is so good at doing, waiting expectantly that God will deliver again. Kent relentlessly puts his faith in God alone even in the midst of a disaster. His gift for words gently covers your vulnerable soul and lifts you up so that you can stand to see His face again.
I thought accomplishing some of my life goals would resolve or answer the lifelong questions but I was wrong. The circumstance I am facing today pushes me to go on the search for honest faith. The difference between 2011 and 2017 is that now I have more responsibilities or baggage for this search. So please help me, God.
I just want to end with some paragraphs from the book that the author writes about faith so eloquently:
“Faith is gratitude. Faith is vulnerable. Faith is humble and does not boast. It is a leap but only toward truth. Faith is hope but not escape. Faith is love for truth, vulnerable to truth, open to truth, being slowly turned toward truth, ready to soar with truth or crash under it. Faith is honest, always honest, and a kind of prayer.”
“I do want any part of my faith that isn’t true to die. I don’t want to close my eyes to anything about this world. I hate a lot about this world. I’m writing this so I can find a way to love God with more of my heart – this heart that God created to know much and love, but that will also be crushed again and again.”
“And so finally, God, all of this is to you, only you.
May you accept it with all of its doubt and anger and self-righteousness and protests. This book is my psalm to you, clawing its way toward faith and gratitude.
May you accept my muck-stained love.
May you accept my clogged-up tears and maybe turn them to water.
May you teach me to sing like Enel and others did in that all night vigil as they and their city laid their bruised and broken.
May I keep finding you in the rubble – the body of Christ broken for us.
May those who are suffering especially, and yet even all of us, keep finding you on this shaky planet-the body of Christ with us.
May we, somehow, keep becoming the body of Christ, that your distance would come nearer.
I want to be vulnerable to faith, hope and love. Vulnerable to your salvation. Committed to following you. And vulnerable to truth and however that might change my faith.
Vulnerable to your love, so do not hide your face from us – that we may not be able to hid our faces from you.
My senior year in college I was faced with a crisis of faith. Honestly speaking I don’t remember a time where I didn’t believe in God. I was born and raised in a family of faith so I naturally believed in God. However I had serious doubts about faith, about God and the word because I had questions that were unanswered. It is at that precise moment when a good friend listened to my struggle and recommended that I read this book. I am in great debt to her. Thank you so much.