God Takes the Rap


Number 0022

Source: The Messenger, September, 1998
File Under: Suffering; God

This article from a few years back might be helpful as folks consider and ponder the most recent disaster in Myanmar–DRL.


God Takes the Wrap

by Guy N. Woods

A brokenhearted man, his body torn with uncontrollable grief, weeps before the bier of his beloved wife. Well-meaning, but pitifully misguided, friends gather about him, and in an effort to soften the blow which has brought the world crashing down upon his shoulders inform him that his immeasurable loss is to be ascribed to the will of God. A mother grieves beside the pale and lifeless body of her only child, and the preacher seeks to comfort her with the assurance that her child’s death was the result of the will of God to which will she must now resign herself! Disaster strikes with the suddenness of the lightning’s flash, fortunes are swept away as with a flood, poverty stalks menacingly among the innocent and helpless children, and the whole is attributed to the providence of God.

How Satan must grin with sardonic glee at such accusations leveled against the Judge of all the earth! How he must rejoice to hear the character of the great Jehovah slandered, his motives impeached, and his will thus prostituted by those who affect to be his friends! With what satisfaction must he contemplate the ever-increasing multitudes of infidels to which such reasoning inevitably leads! And how comfortable it is for the casual observer in such instances to blame God for what he cannot or will not explain in any other way.

This disposition to let God bear the blame is a common one to humanity; and it finds expression in many ways. Wars, famine, pestilence, and death are regularly laid at his feet. When the heavens withhold the rain and the earth becomes dust; when crops fail and cattle die, men read in the disaster traces of the will of God. The law of the land solemnly takes cognizance of the fact that some matters are to be attributed to “an act of God.” Among the contingencies thus classified would be tornadoes, storms at sea, earthquakes, and the like. Many contracts provide that in the event of an “act of God” the contract becomes unenforceable.

A recent instance of this disposition characteristic of man to let God take the blame in any matter wherein he either will not or cannot trace out the causes is to be seen in the West Frankfort mine disaster, in which one hundred nineteen miners perished, and for which God has now been officially blamed! In an editorial which appeared earlier this year in an Eastern newspaper these words appeared…

Once again God must take the rap. In the aftermath of the West Frankfort mine disaster a jury has solemnly assembled, meditated, contemplated, and brought in its unanimous verdict. God has been convicted. According to the jury the murder of one hundred nineteen coal miners in West Frankfort must go down in the history books as “an act of God.” As Murray Kempton reported in this newspaper the other day, no one–government, coal operators, mine workers, or union officials–seemed prepared to look for any other culprit. It was so easy to blame God. After all, he couldn’t talk back. More reverent men might have hesitated to reach this verdict. They might have considered the guilt of congressmen who have stubbornly refused to pass a mine safety law. They might have weighed the responsibility of the coal operators who have tenaciously resisted mine safety legislation. They might even have studied the role of UMW officials who have always seemed more concerned with union politics than with human safety. But all that would have involved many complicated problems. It was so much easier to blame God.

SO MUCH EASIER TO BLAME GOD! May we ponder these words most seriously when we next are disposed to excuse our own neglect, and ignore immediate causes, by blandly assigning the responsibility for all such matters to the remote cause, God.

—-by the late Guy N. Woods

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