Nicholas Kristof put out a blog post yesterday that had me shaking and produced a visceral response of nausea from deep within my body. The post was a story of an 14-year-old girl from a small village in Bangladesh who died from a public beating administered to her after she was raped by an older man in the community. The story is horrific and gut wrenching and the outrage I felt was immediate.
I posted it on my Facebook page and found equal outrage and dismay. But the question one of my friends asked is worth posting: “We can only cry out for God’s Kingdom to come. Soon. Until then how can/should we bring God’s mercy, healing, and justice?”
It was an important reminder to me. I was paralyzed in my response, but after stating the prayer of his heart, he asked the right question. The one that I needed to challenge me to rise from my spectator viewpoint and think and pray the “How” prayer instead of the “Why” prayer. How can I be a channel for justice and mercy? How should I search and know truth in order to respond?
It was in this mindset that I went to a book that I have referenced in the past, A Faith and Culture Devotional, I went to a chapter that I have read many times called “Theodicy”. The definition of the word is necessary to fully understand the chapters point.
the.od.i.cy – noun a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.
The 2-page devotional is part of an interview between Lee Strobel and Peter Kreeft and though every sentence is worth quoting, I was struck by the truth of the first illustration. Peter Kreeft is describing a cartoon on the door fo his office. He says this “On my door is a cartoon of two turtles. One says ‘Sometimes I’d like to ask why he allows poverty, famine, and injustice when he could just do something about it.’ The other turtle says ‘I’m afraid God might ask me the same question’.” Why this gave me comfort may seem strange, but it gave me comfort the way my friends response on Facebook did – it was a challenge to my actions and awareness, a reminder that sometimes when I ask ‘Why’, I may want to change the question to ‘How’.
Bloggers Note: A Faith & Culture Devotional is available at Amazon – it is a dynamic set of short essays with probing questions to help people work through some of the issues of our day.