I woke up Sunday morning knowing that someone filled with hate had killed many people at a nightclub in Los Angeles. My son and his girlfriend happened to be house hunting in the Los Angeles area this weekend, and I wanted to check on them. These two kids are about to move to the Los Angeles area for graduate school, so they could be at a “soft target” on a Saturday night in the future. The thought jolted my groggy brain awake, and I headed for the bathroom.
From my bathroom sink I heard TV reporters talk about the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. What? Orlando?
So the massacre happened at a nightclub in Orlando, not Los Angeles. Good thing I hadn’t texted my son. But why did I wake up so sure that a massacre had happened in Los Angeles? I could only assume that I had dreamed this happened.
I continued listening to the news as I sipped my coffee and decided what to wear to church. A man had been arrested in a car containing a cache of firearms and chemicals that could be used for explosives. He was on his way to the gay pride parade in Los Angeles. The man did not tell police that he intended to slaughter people at the parade, but he has a previous conviction for intimidation in his home state of Indiana, and he was ordered to surrender all his weapons in that state.
How many more murders would have happened if this man had not been arrested in Santa Monica?
People wonder why God allows so much evil and suffering to happen. Theologians write countless pages in books about this topic. Jesuits spend countless numbers of hours discussing this in religion classes. God gave human beings free will. Human beings allow evil and suffering to happen, not God.
What we truly don’t know is how much evil and suffering God spares us. How many instances – big and small, personal and global – are we unaware of when God has mercifully stopped even worse things from happening?
Faith allows belief despite the lack of visible proof. Gratitude should encompass more than the things we can see. So where is God? Everywhere. Working in ways we can’t fathom.
©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2016.