Have you been in a storm? Have you been in a hurricane? have you been in a class F-4 Tornado. Have you watched the movie Twister with Hellen Hunt and Bill Paxton? Remember the ending where Dr. Harding and her estranged husband Bill Harding used a leather belt to strap themselves to a pipe that was cemented into the ground? There is this moment of them flying in the air, tethered to the pipe, as a tornado rips apart the shack they were trying to find shelter in. There is a moment where they look up and see the center of the storm and see clear blue sky, a moment of calm. This couple finally sees what they have been trying to explore but impossible to get to, the eye of a tornado. The calmest part of a storm, a center where the rest of the storm is circling around it, is the eye. The most catastrophic storms, hurricanes to be exact, have an eye, a center that is the safest part or the least damaging.
The Christian song gone wrong this week is by Mr. Ryan Stevenson. Mr. Ryan, you were so close with your song, “Eye of the Storm,” but you missed reality by several miles, 20 to 40 miles to be exact. Here is the chorus.
In the eye of the storm
You remain in control
And in the middle of the war
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor
When my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me
In the eye of the storm
The implication of the eye of the storm being the part where we need God’s control is not it. As I critiqued in my part one post, for the sake of making a song cool, our understanding of weather patterns has been glazed over and makes Christians sound a little uneducated. The eye of the storm is not when we need God, it is probably between the Eye wall and the rain bands. Our good friends at NASA can help us understand a hurricane a little better.
I posit this as a better line for this chorus, “If I survive, on my way to the eye of the storm…etc.” This is probably why this lyric is not used, because it doesn’t fit the tune. If you have managed to make it to the eye of the storm, you are half way through the problem. To give Mr. Ryan some credit, he does go on to give us some more accurate metaphors like war and what an anchor does in a storm. However, the eye of the storm can almost trick us. We think we are through a painful moment, but in reality you should probably start to brace yourself for round two as you leave the eye and head back into the 400 mph wind and rain that was an increase from before you were in the eye.
Let me bring it back to what the intent of the song was to capture, is God in control in the middle of the worst of life? This questions goes hand in hand with, why does God allow bad things to happen? Why does a loving God allow people to suffer? How can an all powerful loving God coexist with evil? All these questions is the basis for all religions. Even atheism is a response to this question, the atheist says, “There is no God because there is so much suffering in the world.” We cannot minimalize the power and depth of this question. In fact, my entire book is a story centered around this idea of suffering. The Last Day of Regret is my attempt to provide an answer to reconcile a good God and an evil world.
Theologians have been seeking to answer this question for thousands of years. Religious leaders have used this as a way to control people. They will proclaim that if you listen to them they can alleviate the pain in your life. People become addicts to numb the pain they have in their life. Where is God when life is utter chaos? It certainly isn’t in the eye of the storm that brings this question to mind, it is just before the eye, when the winds are at its strongest that we question God.
All I can add here simply to say that evil and suffering is not proof that a loving God does not exist. Just like the existence of things that are good and lovely is proof that God does exist. These arguments cancel each other out and we are left with three options. Either there is a world of pain and there is a good God or there is pain and an evil god exists or there is pain in the world and no God exists. If pain is inevitable and your control is minimal than what choice do you want to believe? All three roads take faith because there is no 100% assurance of anything.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV).
People that say, “You cannot prove God exists,” also cannot prove he does not exist. It is faith both ways. Where do you want your faith to land when the storm passes, because it will. Either in this life or the next, your feet will land on solid ground and you will stand before God and he will ask you, did you trust me?
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz