Acts of God and Other Puzzlements
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6
I travel a good bit with my husband, Jim, on business. Last spring, business took us to Jasper, Alabama. Jasper is one of the many towns across our country that I would never get to see were it not for the fact that my husband’s job carries him to places generally not found in Fodor's guidebooks. Jasper’s a nice, regular town, much like the one I grew up in, only bigger.
We arrived on Sunday evening, April 8th. April 8th is the anniversary of when an F-5 tornado blew through those parts. Not Jasper, but real close by. Now, I haven’t told y’all this yet, but I have a life-long, blood-freezing terror of tornadoes.
You might be asking yourself if I was raised, perhaps, in Kansas, where such horrific storms are common. No, in fact, I was raised in Faith, NC, and as so far as I am informed, there has never been a tornado there, nor anywhere in the vicinity. The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie as a child. Perhaps that explains it. Or maybe it was the way my family huddled in the hall every time it thundered, even in the dead of night. Mamma would get me out of bed to duck for cover with the rest of the family until the last rumble faded.
Anyway, Jim and I were right there where this media-declared Act of God transpired—
Why do they call such things "Acts of God?"
Why are bad things—tornadoes, tsunami's, earthquakes, et cetera—Acts of God, but none of the good things? The sun came up this morning, and no one else—not even any of the presidential candidates—claimed credit, but no one refers to Daylight as an Act of God.
And what about summer? Home-grown tomatoes, blackberries, and watermelon. And great picnic weather...well, except for places in the Rockies, where it's still snowing. Snow. Now, that's an Act of God…according to newscasters and insurance agents everywhere. But wisteria in bloom? He doesn't get the credit. I find this a puzzlement.
As someone who knows God personally, I'd like to see Him get more appreciation in the media for everything miraculous that happens throughout His divine creation each and every day. We can't have it both ways: If a tsunami is an Act of God, then by golly, so is the rhythmic surf caressing beaches all over the world right this minute.
It’s hard to think that our loving Father would create—or allow—killer storms that punish guilty and innocent alike. I know atheists that cite this as reason number one they don’t believe in an all-powerful, loving God.
I’m no theologian, but here’s where I find my Peace: everything we experience in creation is through our limited, human lens. Loss of a human—fleshly—life is tragic, and I don’t mean to minimize grief. But God, I think, is more concerned with our spirits than our flesh. Our relationship with Him is wholly spiritual, and our spiritual lives vast compared to the brief sojourn we spend on planet earth. He has his eye on eternity, and we live in the moment.
Take one of those moments to appreciate everyday miracles. Each of us is an Act of God.
Susan M. Boyer lives in Greenville, SC with her husband, Jim. She spends her days writing and daydreaming too much. Her work has appeared in Relief Journal, Spinetingler Magazine, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. She is the recipient of Relief Journal’s, editor’s choice award in fiction. Susan serves on the board of directors for the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and is in her second year as chairperson for the organization’s annual conference. In her spare time, Susan travels with her husband, occasionally makes it to her Jazzercise class, and sometimes remembers to update her blog, People I’d Like to Be, where she mostly complains about the exercise and her sluggish metabolism.