Two days ago my beautiful wife and I were able to pawn the boys off on my mother in order to have one of our rare movie date nights. We rode out to Pier Park on the beach to watch “Men In Black 3” at the Grand. After a delightful viewing experience for the first 30 minutes the screen suddenly went blank in the theater as the volume continued to run. After inquiring about the problem I learned that the screens in all sixteen theaters had been blacked out. We sat a few more minutes in the theater and listened to the plot as the sound rambled on. We decided to leave and approached the box office for a refund.
They claimed they could give us replacement tickets but not a full money refund.
“We can’t give a refund because the reason for the blackout was an act of God,” said the kind young lady who was the ticket attendant.
I realize she was probably told by her superiors to respond like this when something like this happens (presumably lightning). I realize there is an “Act of God” clause in insurance companies that intimates disastrous events outside of human control (earthquakes, flash floods, etc.).
But I find it curious how God’s name usually only gets evoked when bad stuff happens to us.
God is the whipping boy when tragedy strikes, but not one thought of gratitude is thrown His way for the countless days, months and years of tragedy withheld from our lives. Why isn’t a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking mountain range, or a stunning sandy white beach deemed an “act of God.” Why isn’t such an amazing mystery as a successful child-birth and delivery called an “act of God” by OBGYN’s and Insurance claims?
Words mean something.
And the words and phrases our culture uses betrays something about it.
And it is strange when we use such words to quickly assign blame to Him for infrequent disastrous events and yet never praise for the consistently peaceful merciful everyday events of life. His Providential kindness is apparent everyday I get to wake up in the morning, but I can only offer anger when He takes back one of the many gifts He has loaned me for a short time? No. Both acts, those that seem like judgment and those that seem like mercy, are meant to elicit one awe-inspiring response.
This is perfectly personified in Job after successive “act(s) of God” leave him with no family, no resources, and a handful of critical friends. Job knows only one proper response to this shockingly personal tragedy of epic proportions: Broken hearted repentant grateful praise. So Job worships and cries out from the depths of a shattered heart:
The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21
Maybe the theater girl wasn’t too far off in her assessment. But let’s not be hypocritically selective in our own lives when witnessing His “daily” acts that we take for granted: from family, sunsets, music, to food. His fingerprints aren’t hiding from us.