Where is God in a cancer ward?
Or a road accident? Or a cot death?
And in particular this weekend……. Where is God in war?
The answer is complex, but it is an answer that as Christians we often need to articulate.
Mary’s hidden inference in last week’s gospel “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” is so often extrapolated by those whose faith is wavering.
“Lord, if you exist then suffering and war wouldn’t happen”’
Where is God in war? There are many one-line responses, but for a learned and accessible treatise try that by Tom Wright, written half way through his tenure as Bishop of Durham. The link is
(I can provide copies for those without internet access)
War transcends history and generations. In the context of a computer programme he had written to simulate on screen a million falling poppies, a particularly articulate ten-year old remarked to me this week that the poppies had made him realise that, although he would never want to, in the past it must be have been right to fight wars.
A sentiment not universally held; but with a resonance in a prayer from The Royal British Legion’s Hear My Cry: Words for when there are no words.
Give us courage, O Lord, to stand up and be counted,
To stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves,
To stand up for ourselves when it is needful for us to do so.
Let us fear nothing more than we fear Thee.
Let us love nothing more than we love Thee,
for thus we shall fear nothing also.
Let us seek no other peace but the peace which is Thine,
and make us its instruments,
opening our eyes and our ears and our hearts,
so that we should know always what work of peace we do for thee.
Let us today stand silent. With gratitude for the courage of those who did stand up. And fell.
At the start of this four-year remembrance of the Great War, General the Lord Dannatt, former chief of the General Staff, wrote that:
“To make sense of war we can do nothing better than place our hope and faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
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