Curtis Dahlgren
Why God allows such things to happen [an annual encore column]
By Curtis Dahlgren
May 25, 2013

"The Truth is stranger than fiction," they say. "But not as popular."

EVER BEEN SO NUMB THAT YOU COULDN'T SHED A TEAR? I'm no stranger to pain either, but I've recently talked to two elderly men who claim they don't believe in God. One of them used to – until his wife died a painful death. Paradoxically, she may be more ready to listen to God now than he is.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882); "A Psalm of Life"

People say that their prayers are with the people of Oklahoma, but has their faith been shaken?

"A great and strong wind rent the mountains, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, [but] after the fire a still small voice."Elijah

"Father of us all, we thank you for women and men to whom bodies are more than gold, and the soul of a little child of greater value than the buildings of a city." – 19th century prayer

On May 19th, the first of two days of Oklahoma tornadoes, local fire fighters were fighting a forest fire on the property adjoining mine in Michigan. I can relate to tornado alleys, too. On Palm Sunday in 1965 one missed my house by about a mile. In 1991 a tornado took direct aim at my house. A hill and tall trees made a ramp that made it "pass over" my house with little damage, but over 40 trees were uprooted or mangled on the property. I was in town at the time and the twister missed me by a mile again (a miss is as good as a mile).

Anyway, the prayer above opens like this:"Father of us all, we thank thee for life, that we live now; and that our hands have been filled with the tasks of the present. Nor do we despise the past. Its errors warn us, its successes inform us, and it sacrifices inspire us. "

There is reason for America to pause both for gratitude and concern. I don't foresee much abatement in bad news – the drought of 2012-13 hasn't broken yet – but the good news is that we can understand why God allows such things to happen. Therefore, I'm planning to re-post annually the following column excerpts, partly from my January 1, 2005 column following the Indonesian earthquake/tsunami, and partly from the March 2011 one, after the Japan tsunami. ["Why does God allow such things to happen?"]

"If there is no God, what makes the next Kleenex pop out?" – anon.

"If God allows such things to happen, He must be cruel." – anon.

"non sequitur, n; (Latin) 'it does not follow'" – Webster

LAST WEEK, ON THE FIRST OF MARCH, I WROTE: "More to come next week, but if you can't pray for your enemy – or your country – pray for yourself." Well, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami ought to remind us once again that we have bigger threats than theoretical "climate changes" in the sky! I recently mentioned that we may be living in the time described by the Bible as "the time of the Great Hatred" (Hosea).

" . . For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places . . . And then shall many be
offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." – Matthew

Well, in consideration of Japan's great tragedy, I want to repost the article I posted on New Year's day in 2005 – shortly after the Indonesian quake and tsunmi of December 2004. A friend of mine said that it was one of my best columns. Here are at least a few excerpts.

Atheists, agnostics, and doubting Thomases do not "feed" on the Word (instead they focus on talking points, catchphrases, and non sequiturs). In recent years, almost any pithy or overused phrase might end up being referred to as a non sequitur, but I'm talking about the original meaning: in logic: a conclusion or inference which does not follow from the premises.

Atheists always ask, "If there's a God, why does He allow such things to happen?" Turning the question into its unstated premise, it is essentially: "If there were a God, he/it wouldn't allow such things to happen" (another faulty premise leading to many faulty non sequiturs).

In conclusion, two main points;

A) If these bad things never happened, God would be a liar, and He always tells the truth. He has a long-range Plan; a thousand years with us is like one day to God. The things He allows and the things He causes are two different things; the trick is in figuring out the difference. Some things He will allow in order to save millions, although hundreds may temporarily lose their lives (the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away).

B) At times such as this one, we need to get "back to the basics" with a child-like Faith. Someone sent me a cartoon showing a little boy in prayer, and he says to God, "Things are going pretty well here in school and everything. Is there anything You need?" And, believe it or not, the Word says that there are some things that He needs!"

"I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land [as Moses did] – that I should not destroy it." – Ezekiel

P.S. I interrupt my own column for a 2013 post-script. Here's a most timely and fitting quotation from the late Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas:

"God and the world need men who will stand in the gap . . men who are not for sale; men who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to the heart's core; men with consciences as steady as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right if the heavens totter and the earth reels; men who can tell the truth and look the world right in the eye . . . "

[as quoted by Zig Ziglar ("Wanted A Man – A Man Who Will Stand")]

OR, as the inscription on the Capitol complex in Sacramento says: "SEND ME MEN TO MATCH MY MOUNTAINS."

Just when we needed God the most, the Libs are trying to wipe Him out of our minds. They are out of their minds.

Just when we needed Him the most,
they went to court and told us to get lost.
Like a stick in the eye, like a thumb in the pie;
Like salt in the wound, or a wood tick on Rover,
they said "he Era of Religion is over."
Like a burr in the boot, or carp in the lake,
they carp: "Give us cap and trade, and you can eat cake."

So let us weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
With those who rejoice in hearing that Still Small Voice.
Short Fellow (1942-?)


© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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