Daily Reflection
September 24th, 1999
Shirley A. Scritchfield
Institutional Research & Assessment
Haggai 1:15-2:9
Psalms 43:1-4
Luke 9:18-22

“Take courage...work, for I am with you,…”  Haggai 2:4

“…thou art the God in whom I take refuge; why hast thou cast me off?  Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”  Psalm 43:2

…”The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  Luke 9:22

Dear God:

As I sit down to write today’s reflection, my mind is consumed with the news coming out of East Timor.  The sheer horror of what is transpiring there makes me recoil…I desperately want to find a place to hide and to pretend  there are not 10s of thousands of people being systematically slaughtered in this place I know so little about.  A-ah, but the reality is uglier than even my ugliest nightmare…and, I find no place that offers me the luxury of pretending otherwise.

Instead, I feel the terror, the sorrow and despair, the anguish of my sisters and brothers in that far off place.  I hear their cries for help, for mercy.  And, I feel so utterly helpless… and, yes, even hope-less.

I cry out to you, God, just as the Psalmist above.  Where are you?  Why don’t you DO something?  Why don’t you STOP the oppression, the madness of human inhumanity?  Where ARE you?  You promised that you would be with them…with us.  You promised …again and again and again…but yet the destruction of life and humanity continues.  Where ARE you?

The prophet Haggai tells us that we are to take courage…God is with them…us.  But, somehow, that doesn’t seem like enough this afternoon.  What does it mean to be with your people, God?  What does it mean to be with them as their lives are smashed and destroyed?  What does it mean to the mother who witnesses the rape and murder of her daughter, only to become the next victim?  What does it mean to the pastor torn from his jeep and pummeled into a broken heap on the blood-soaked ground?  What does it mean to those whose bodies burn in the streets of what was once a city?

My questions seem almost blasphemy to me.  I feel a bit like a belligerent child, questioning and pushing—waiting for another answer, one I like better.  I KNOW that your presence is the greatest source of real peace.  I KNOW that you yourself put on skin and walked among us, suffered among us…and suffer with us still.  I KNOW that every wound inflicted is felt within your heart—and, each of your creations is cradled in your arms as they leave this life.  But, somehow, dearest God, today it doesn’t seem enough…it just doesn’t seem enough.

Giver of all questions, what is it you want me to learn from these questions?  You who have placed them on my heart, illumine me.

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