“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Just a few weeks ago we buried my Dad. It was hard. It still is hard. Especially for my mom. We said a lot of things to people in the midst of our grief. And a lot of things were spoken to us in our grief. Now if in those moments after he breathed his last, my mom or my brothers or I had said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the name of the Lord,” that would have been fine. But if someone else had said it to her, while possibly meaning well, it would have been insensitive. That’s the difference, who says it.
The great problem with Piper’s tweet is that he said it and not the ones who were hurting. If someone who lost a child or spouse in the tornado had tweeted out Job 1:19 and 20, fine. But it is not our job do anything that looks like making them see something in the immediate aftermath. That was the mistake of Job’s counselors.
I do not disagree with the theology per se. I am Reformed and I am a Calvinist. But in the immediate wake of a tragedy like that, our desire for “presence with” and prayer for the hurting should overwhelm our desire for them to see – even see “what God is doing.” It is a time to weep. Not a time to teach, preach or fix.
Do I believe that if disaster comes to a city, God has done it? Yes.
Do I believe the penalty for sin is death? Yes.
Do I believe we all deserve death because of our sinful rebellion against God? Yes.
But there is a mystery as to how all those things fit together. And I am unwilling to speak into a tragedy like the tornado in Moore, OK or 9/11 or even a person’s death in old age and piece these truths together. Especially so in the immediate aftermath. And it seems to me that if I had all the theological acumen to piece them together, if I did it in the midst of the rubble, it would not be loving. And then, I would be nothing.