Get Ready to Tend A Broken World
August 14, 2020
August 2020 Newsletter: The Beirut Explosion: Where is God?
August 14, 2020

The Beirut Explosion: Where is God?

By Elie Haddad, ABTS President
August 14, 2020

A few weeks ago, our students were finally able to return home. They had been stuck on campus since March due to airport closures. We had been concerned about their safety with the pandemic, so we were happy to see them get back home. We were eager to shut down our dorms building because it had gotten old and had become a drain on our budget. With our new strategy of moving away from full-time residential education, we no longer needed to pour money into this old building. Little did we know that, within ten days, we would be giving the building a deep-clean and a fresh paint job in order to house families whose homes were destroyed in the Beirut explosion. This cataclysmic event changed everything, again.

The question that keeps lingering in our minds is: Where is God in all of this? Where is God in this senseless pain and preventable suffering? Where is God when the people of Lebanon have been enduring for decades the rule of political leaders who are marked by corruption, greed, incompetence, and indifference? Where is God within the multiple layers of crises, from refugee crisis to economic crisis to political crisis to social crisis to health crisis, and now, add to that an explosion that destroyed a good portion of Beirut? “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

Part of the wonder of God is that, not only does He listen, His heart no doubt bleeds for Beirut and its people with unconditional compassion and love, and He reveals Himself in fresh new ways in the middle of our anguish. There isn’t enough space here to record all that God is doing, nor can we comprehend the vastness of God’s actions. Nevertheless, let me highlight briefly where I see God in the midst of this explosion.

I can see God in the goodness of countless Lebanese who took to the streets to clean, help, feed, and comfort the distressed. It’s easy for us to identify the evil in people who are away from God. However, we are now learning to see and recognize glimpses of the image of God in people all over the streets of Beirut.

I can see God in the response of His people. I grew up during the Lebanese civil war when the Church was mostly silent and in hiding. Not today. God has transformed His Church to become a wonderful expression of His love for people. So many churches and ministries immediately sprang into action. If you go to Beirut today, you don’t have to look far to see the hands and feet of Jesus.

I can see God working through our ABTS community. We spend a lot of time in discernment as we steer the ministry where we believe God wants to take it. But not in response to the explosion. We didn’t need to stop and ask God what to do. We immediately knew what He wanted. Opening up our facilities to house newly homeless people was the most natural thing to do. This is a testimony of God’s work in our hearts for years and years.

I can see God through our partners. The amount of care, concern, and prayers that we are receiving is moving and inspiring. We did not need to raise funds to care for families. Unsolicited, our partners are sending us generous portions of God’s love in monetary form to provide the care that is needed.

Where is God in the midst of the calamity? All around us. We just have to look for His fingerprints.