As the extent of damage from Hurricane Ike continues to unfold across the islands of the Caribbean and into Texas, Louisiana, Mexico and other places, it’s easy to ask “Where is God in the midst of this devastation and destruction?”  God is most definitely there and here’s an example of just how.

There’s a midrash of Torah that talks about the conversation between an angel and God as God watches the Exodus of the Israelites at the Red Sea. The basic frame of the story goes something like this:

As the Hebrew people were being pursued by the Egyptians toward the Red Sea, God and an angel watched events unfold.  God responded to the faith of Moses and the people in striking the water by parting it so that the whole company could find there way in safety to the other side.  As the people passed through, God and the angel watched silently.

Soon they turned their gaze upon the Egyptian pursuers.  As the last of the 12 tribes of Israel emerged on the opposite bank they began to gather again and prepare for the next leg of their journey, but still in fear of their pursuers.

As the horses, chariots and warriors of Egypt found their way into the passage through the see, God swallowed hard and sighed.  The waters united again and the cry of sorrow echoed through the air and was suddenly an eerily silenced.  Immediately the cheers and rejoicing commenced on the other side of the sea.

Then the angel of the Lord turned to speak to God and saw that tears rolled down the Lord’s cheeks.

“Why are you crying my Lord?”, asked the angel.

“I weep for my children, the Egyptians,” sighed God. And God shook with sobbing.

As Ike’s destruction is revealed, and as we deal with soothing the tears and sorrow of those here on earth in its aftermath, so does God weep over the suffering of any of his children.  My God’s sorrow inspire us to exercise our muscles of compassion in his name.  First by prayer and then by action in reaching out in whatever way we can to support those who weep, God included.

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