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God Suffers With the Suffering

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Pat Robertson said yesterday that Haiti's earthquake was a result of the country's "pact with the devil." I don't even know what he means, nor does it matter much to me. As I reflected on Robertson's comments, I was reminded of how many times he has embarrassed so many fellow Christians with his intemperate comments. As a Christian leader, I have had to spend too much of my time trying to overcome an image of Christianity that was created by the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. When people thought of Christians, these far-right leaders and their ideas are all they knew. But truthfully, Pat Robertson is increasingly irrelevant, except for weird soundbites in the media.

Even though Robertson has become marginal, his extreme comments can still shape people's views of Christianity and God. So, I thought I'd take Robertson's comment as an opportunity to set the record straight. The God I serve, the God of the Bible, does not cause evil. God is not a vengeful and retributive being, waiting to strike us down. Evil happens, whether at the hands of corrupt people or because the earth shifts along a fault line and the world rumbles.

When evil strikes, it's easy to ask, where is God. The answer: God is suffering in the midst of the evil with those who are suffering. Throughout the Scripture, we find a picture of a God who is with the people, even in their darkest hours. Today, in Haiti, God is suffering with those who are suffering. My prayers go out to the families who are suffering.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street--A Moral Compass for the New Economy, Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at www.godspolitics.com.

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