So I had an article yesterday about the theological questions that inevitably come up when a natural disaster — an “act of God” — causes mind-bending destruction.
I quoted the Rev. Suzanne Rabb of Hawthorne, a United Methodist minister, whose husband, a Methodist missionary, had just been pulled from the rubble in Haiti after 55 hours of being trapped. I didn’t actually speak to Rabb, but my colleague Dwight Worley did and he shared some of her thoughts with me.
She said: “I believe that God is a loving presence, that God is a creator, not a destroyer. What we always need to remember is that even in the depths of despair and rubble, that God is there. God’s presence never leaves. It’s just that things happen.”
And if her husband had perished?
“I would know that there is a presence of God that will sustain me and that Clint is sustained, too, whatever happened to his soul,” she said.
The United Methodist News Service also wrote about Rabb’s amazing survival.
My article ran in Sunday’s Journal News. Little did I know that Clinton Rabb died from his injuries on Sunday morning at a Florida hospital.
His wife and several of his children were with him.
His stepson Daniel Payne told my colleague Aman Ali: “He had a respirator and he could not speak because his body was paralyzed with sedation medicine. My mom said to him, ‘Clinton, we’re all here and we love you.’ He was able to open his eyes bigger and acknowledge her. As she talked to him, he had tears in his eyes, and she knew he was crying.”
All around the world, people who heard about Clinton Rabb’s ordeal are thinking about him and praying for him today.