God is in the Rubble

By: Andrea Woolley

The question was posed to a group of my peers Monday, “Where is God?” This question is actually a fairly common question in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education). But yesterday the question was directed towards the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Where is God? One of the students replied, “God is in the rubble.” She did not elaborate on her response. There was a collective ah and oh from the rest of the students who thought the response was great, except from me. I thought, “That's crap!” (Actually, I thought something much worse that I am refraining from putting into print, but you get the idea.)

 It sounded to me, at the time, as some sentimental phrase that could be uttered in a crisis as some sort of comfort to the victim but which, in reality, would provide no comfort. “God is in the rubble.”

As the day went on, the phrase lingered in my mind. “God is in the rubble.” Death is in the rubble. Destroyed houses and business are in the rubble. Destruction, shattered lives, broken dreams, loss, grief, anger…that is in the rubble.

And then I understood. “God is in the rubble.” It is in the midst of the death, destruction, shattered lives, and broken promises that we can find God. (It is also in the joys of life, the newness of creation, the fulfilled promises and new birth that God can be found.)

Simply put…God is there. In the sorrows and tragedies of life, God is. In the joys of life, God is. In the destruction, God is. In the creation, God is. In the darkness, God is. And in the light, God is.

 Even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139:12