Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why Tsunami Happened to Good People

"Why do terrible things happen only to good people like the Japanese?" asked one lady professor at work yesterday. My answer was that the Almighty knows very well that they are strong enough to endure them. To which she quickly replied, "Well, I say the Almighty is not intelligent enough."

I do not fault her for saying so. After all, it was really nerve wracking to see nature unleash its wrath on a nation listed as the third largest economy in the world. It is even more heartbreaking to see them, meek and mild, waiting for their turn as rescuers carried them to safety one by one, only to look back at the scene of a wreckage that was once their home. You can only imagine how enormous of a task it is to reconstruct their country that took several decades of  ingenuity, sacrifice, discipline, and hard work to build.

How could you not want to reach out and help after seeing them bow to Mother Nature who randomly decided their fate?  We all cannot help but ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Born and bred in a Catholic home, my instinct has been to look into my faith for answers, especially during those times when my life seemed as disastrous as Job's. Regarded as one of the greatest literary works of ancient times, the Book of Job tells the story of a righteous and pious chieftain who owned "seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she-asses," or in other words, a billionaire. He suffered a complete reversal of fortune, first losing his properties, then his children, and finally his health. I cannot help but compare this to what we have been watching on TV in Japan - first the great quake, then the tsunami, and now the nuclear plants.

The interesting thing about this story is how three of his closest friends concluded that he must have done something wrong to earn the wrath of God. Don't we all have a tendency to think this way sometimes, like God is hiding along the path of life just waiting to spring upon us to get even for some wrong we have committed?

Watching Anderson Cooper on CNN reporting about the lack of transparency in the Japanese government's handling of the nuclear reactors made me cringe. It worries me so that it could only worsen the condition of a nation already beaten to the pulp. I agree with Hillary Clinton who reacted to questions, saying that we ought to give them time to settle down. After all it has only been a week since the earthquake shook them out of their wits.

I am not writing this blog to unlock some code that even the greatest philosophers had not discovered yet. All I want is to give us hope in a story whose plot has been seen over and over again throughout history. After all, bad things do not come from Him but from the imperfect world in which we live.

The good news is that a sequel had already been written to tell the story of Jesus who healed the sick, fed a multitude of hungry people, sat at dinner tables with sinners, taught His apostles how to live, encouraged them to believe in their potentials, and held on to the truth even at the point of death. (The Gospel of Mark)

By the way, I cannot help but wonder about the timing of it all this Lenten season. Heaven must be hearing a lot more prayers these days.

Oh, before I forget, after a heart to heart talk, God gave back to Job everything that he lost. He even doubled the amount.

Now back to the present time on earth, we see people all over the world admiring the Japanese people for their patience, discipline, and resilience. Rudy Giuliani who guested on Piers Morgan's show on CNN gave his vote of confidence to Japan.  He said that it is the only place where he saw no looting going on.

Indeed, we all agree that this terrible thing could not have happened to a stronger set of people than the Japanese. Yoko Ono said it best recently when she told Piers Morgan,  “With a big challenge I’m sure that some big, big beautiful result will happen.”

1 comment:

  1. The lady professor said that the ALMIGHTY is not intelligent enough because man's intelligence is God's foolishness. God's thinking is way, way different from man's thinking. "Love your enemies", "Throw back bread when someone hits you with stone", "Forgive 70x7", etc etc. Let's admit it, if we had it our way, we'd rather kill our enemies, throw back a grenade when we get hit by stone and NEVER forgive the worst sin done to us - that 's the way man thinks. As for me, I have given up trying to think the way God does. It drove me crazy. So all I do now is TRUST. This is where FAITH comes in. Even if we don't understand why bad things happen to good people, FAITH keeps me confident in God's love.