The loving and merciful and all-powerful God of the Bible has once again left people scratching their heads about the meaning of love, mercy, and power. The occasion this time was Saturday night, April 17, when the Lord Almighty chose not to use even a tiny fraction of his infinite power to save hundreds of good people — many of them innocent little children — from being crushed to death in an earthquake.
Striking along the central coast of Ecuador, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake destroyed whole towns and villages as it swallowed helpless infants and toddlers along with their screaming parents and grandparents. Cries and prayers to a personal God — a God said to be the very essence of love and goodness — went unheeded.
“God works in mysterious ways,” said Felicia Calderón, a mother whose infant son and 4-year-old daughter died when their house collapsed and buried them in the heavy and unforgiving rubble. “When I found my daughter she was still alive, but her legs and chest were pinned beneath a huge slab of concrete. And so I asked God to help me, to help my little daughter, Adriana. I begged Jesus Christ and his Father in heaven, either one of them, to please extend a finger and nudge the block of concrete off the body of Adriana, whose fifth birthday was only two weeks away. But nothing happened; no help came. Instead, my little girl died right there, in agony and horror.”
“They say faith can move mountains,” the weeping mother continued, “but in this case it couldn’t even move a 4-by-12-foot chunk of concrete. I’ve prayed three times a day all my life; my faith in God has always been pure, always strong, always constant. But in my hour of need, when my precious little child was shrieking in pain, my faith did nothing for me.”
“Just this morning, the day after my daughter’s death,” the broken woman went on, “someone’s radio was playing the song ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus,’ and it made me wonder. When Adriana was dying beneath the jagged concrete, my friends — mostly poor and underfed people — rushed to the scene and tried to help. But Jesus, supposedly our friend, with all the might and power in the world, was nowhere to be seen or heard or felt. He stayed away; he didn’t help. What kind of a friend is that?”