How Could An All-Loving God Do That? Thoughts on Great Is Thy Faithfulness


This blog post is originally from August 2005.

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Like many of you, I’ve been riveted to the TV the last few days, looking at the effects of Katrina.

It was just a few years ago that I decided to treat myself to a little trip. I happened to see that the Giants were playing the Saints, so I used some of my hotel points to get a room in a Four Points Sheraton in Metairie, used Priceline to get a rental car, and used my air miles to book a plane from Newark to New Orleans.

The trip was a great one. The first night, I got the Giants game over with. I can’t remember the score, but I do remember the Giants phoning it in that night. And they weren’t the only ones. That was the game where Joe Horn of the Saints scored four touchdowns, and grabbed a cell phone from under one of the goal posts–I’m sure he felt it well worth the $30,000 fine he had to pay later. At that point, of course, I had to deny to the rabid Saints fans around me that I was a Giants fan. “California. I come from California” I sheepishly replied when a friendly person in the next seat asked me where I was from. I felt like Peter talking to the servant girl.

The next few days, I saw the town. Made sure to get beignets for breakfast. Walked around the French Quarter. Had a “Po-boy”. Ate an incredible Cajun buffet lunch at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant. Lots of Jambalaya, lots of crawfish, lots of great jazz. Visited the D-Day Museum. Had a nice drive down to Lake Pontchartrain, and drove up and down that bridge a few times. Lots of smiles from the people there.

A great trip, all things considered. I think it’s the last trip I’ve taken that wasn’t work-related.

To see the devastation on the TV is heartbreaking. Who would have thought it? Just a week ago, Katrina was just a tiny little disturbance, like all the others. Who would have known that just a week later, thousands and thousands of lives would be tossed about?

For some reason, a verse kept popping up in my head this week.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:18, 19

When disaster like this strikes, you invariably hear people snidely remark, “how could an all-loving God allow this to happen”.

But honestly, the questions should go something like this:

“Why is it that I have been spared thus far?”
“How is that that an all-powerful God still has the time to hear our cries when we pray?”

Disaster and calamity will happen on this side of paradise. It all goes back to the curse. That it doesn’t happen to us every day is the miracle. But some day we will get hit by that storm. That’s a guarantee. Maybe its name won’t be ‘Katrina’. Maybe its name will be “9-11”. Or “massive stroke”. Or “broken engagement”. Or “sick child”.

But our all-loving God already did do something. He sent His only begotten Son to die. As Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse by becomes a curse for us.

So it’s the same, whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a physical storm, or of any kind of storm in your life. Maybe we can’t think of an explanation of why things happened the way they did. Maybe there is no explanation, at least not one we’ll fathom until we’re out of this world. But the one thing to hang onto is this: Christ lives. And this means we have hope. This means we can pick up the pieces, and move on.

And the best way to move on…is to wait. Kicking and screaming and crying might be what we feel like doing, and yes, it’s okay to do that for a time. But it won’t change anything. Waiting quietly for the salvation of the Lord, that’s what brings relief. “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

Please remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina in your prayers, and please be generous in your giving.

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1.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

2.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

3.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Refrain