What does a believer say about God in the midst of an evil tragedy?
On the evening of Monday, October 2nd, I gathered with my classmates as I always do at 7:10 pm to engage in Systematic Theology aka “God Talk.” We had all awaken to the news earlier in the day about the tragedy that had happened in Las Vegas, NV Sunday evening. At the start of class, our professor made a simple comment that snowballed into a vast discourse as the night went on. He stated “evil is real” and indeed it is.
My professor’s inquiry left me pondering. How does believers of God whether Christian, Muslim or any other faith subscriber describe God when tragedy strikes? As a believer myself, I had to question, what could or would I logically say about God in the face of this sudden adversity? Our faith is more comfortable to talk about when the God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient is in the midst of blessings and healing, but what do we say about the presence of God when suffering falls upon innocent souls through the ways of evil?
When I first started Biscuits-N-Honey, I wasn’t quite sure of its trajectory and faithystyle was surely not in the vocabulary. I just knew I needed to be obedient and write. I wrote my first post in 2014, explaining the name of the blog and its purpose of inspiring and manifesting positivity in the lives of readers. Through the years, the meaning of Biscuits-n-Honey has developed into something much more than manifesting positivity. What is clear to me now is that B-N-H is in the industry of feeding the heart and soul. A platform encouraging a faithstyle that people are consciously creating through spiritual journeys. When I reflect on why I chose the words biscuits and honey to represent my blog two things come to mind:
- Biscuits represent the filling substance of God’s word that God provides in the lives of many.
- Honey represents the sweetness of God’s promises and presence of those who revel in a relationship with God.
In the context of the Bible, bread and honey are used as sources of nourishment. We see it with John the Baptist who survived off of locust and honey, the 5,000 Israelite’s who were feed by 5 loaves of bread and Johnathan whose intake of honey made him stronger in the face of war. These stories all share a similarity, they all revolve around a journey: a personal journey, a peoples journey, and a warrior’s journey all of which developed their faith! Biscuits and honey is a platform for creative theology in experiencing God in the 21st century. Whether on a personal, communal or in a state of spiritual warfare our journeys can be comforted by Biscuits & Honey! Both the word (biscuits) and the relationship (honey) are significant aides on a spiritual journey to developing ones faithstyle.
So what’s a faithstyle?
As an advocate for self-care, I must be honest with myself and my readers. I missed a step. An essential step. I missed a measure that has stained my self-care journey……….
I didn’t take the necessary steps to self-heal!
*S/o to my sisters who helped me get to this point of self-actualization. Love y’all!*
By avoiding the step to self-heal, I’ve put myself in danger of experiencing that hurt again. Therefore, before jumping into self-care regimens that bring me joy in the moment, I should have taken the time to be realistic with my emotions and figure out a way to heal, because the joyous moments fizzle when the emotional pains surface when triggered by something out of my control. Truthfully, no matter how much I smudge or how many times I play a Frankie Beverly & Maze track the pain is there marinating deeper into my mind, and my creative sensations have been repressed, it’s draining, to say the least, and it’s time to heal.
In all honesty, it has not been THE IDEAL self-care journey. While I love smudging, indulging in hours of good music and skin care it hasn’t been the most practical with the emotional trauma I’ve been carrying for a while.
“It takes our whole adulthood to get over our childhood.”
(so I’ve heard)
All 3 lead me to understand the power of forgiveness. I was wrong. What I said was hurtful. I didn’t understand the power of my words. I was mad at myself and the lingering horrible feeling eventually led me to apologize. As a believer, I know that forgiving a person is the right thing to do, I know that God is pleased with me when I do forgive, and I know God has forgiven me plenty of times for my shortcomings, but I never understood the power of forgiveness until it was required from someone I loved in order to rebuild trust.
For many, being forgiven is an act that many believers only expect in their private conversations with God. It’s an act of surrendering- surrendering to the grace of God and the ability to keep living knowing that God is still there, but what happens when that transcending spirit isn’t always what we experience in the world? We fail to operate in the essence that God has made us. Existing in the image of God means being able to forgive and ask for forgiveness when wrong. The two are inseparable. It took me understanding that both forgiving myself and receiving forgiveness from the other person in my situation was needed. I could not expect to live life forgiving people for various reasons without yielding in the act of asking for forgiveness myself.
This past Memorial Day Weekend had an unlikely ending. I was traveling back to D.C. from NYC, the city that always gives me a bittersweet kiss goodbye. I had started the weekend contemplating a major life decision, which was paying off a student loan! While in NYC I talked it over with friends, did the math, and decided to use the time spent traveling on the bus as thee time to make my decision. It started in prayer, which led to silence, which resulted in a nap, which resulted in me forgetting to make a decision upon waking up.
I returned to the District right before midnight on Monday, and all was well until I got to my car and it wouldn’t start. My car not starting was the last thing my tired mind and body wanted to deal with. Who was I going to call at midnight for a jump? Why does the D.C metro stop running so early (compared to the MTA in NY)? Why did this have to happen now? “Lord, please let it be the battery and nothing else.” Then it hit me like a ton of bricks- why was I so drained after a great weekend get away? Oh, I still hadn’t decided what I was going to do about this nagging student loan. At that moment, my car’s battery was my mind. The same thing had happened to both my mind and my car. Both were drained.