When things are going well, it is easy to feel that he does care. Even when things turn bad we can still feel like He cares. But when awful things happen we can lose sight of his love as we struggle through illness, job loss, and death. Once the shock and intensity of the trauma leave us, we can look back and see how his love and care carried us through these times.
But what if the bad times never ended?
There are many tragedies in our lives. Most are only for a short time. Some are lifelong. When I was disabled and in severe pain and chronically ill for thirteen years, I still felt God loved me. I still felt He cared for me. But just not as much as other Christians. In my mind I was a second-class Christian. This was my lot in life. To suffer and persevere. Not to thrive.
In the end I was healed. I was restored to clarity of mind and heart as much as healed in my body. But there are things way worse than what I experienced. There are people who are suffering at a much deeper level than I can understand. And for some of these people, the pain never ends.
It is a terrible and horrible thing to lose a child. And when a child goes missing our mind can never find peace. Every day, we wonder and we hope. We wonder if they are still alive. How much evil was or is being done to them. Will we ever see them again and if we do will they be damaged beyond repair?
These are not questions parents should ever be faced with. And when they are, they are questions that need, that cry out, for answers.
Yet none come.
Such is the plight of parents, brothers and sisters and even children of missing loved ones. The numbers are staggering and the conclusions horrible.
And the experience is stilted.
Indigenous women make up only 4.3% of the Canadian population yet account for 16% of all homicide cases and 11% of missing women cases. Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of violence than non-Indigenous women and five times more likely to experience violence than any other population group in Canada. The rate of homicides is four times higher among Indigenous women that non-Indigenous women. (Assembly of First Nations MMIWG afn.ca)
Is this just an Indigenous problem?
Much of the data focuses on Indigenous family violence and especially spousal abuse. It is difficult to find other data that might indicate if the criminals involved here are white or Indigenous. Even if they are male or female.
Even if the data would suggest that the majority of cases happen solely within the Indigenous population, this would not just be a problem for one sector of society. Evil affects all of us.
When we have a section of Canada that is experiencing violence to this extent, we need to care. The erroneous view that missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are not Canada’s problems is fraught with everything but care. That would be like saying Toronto has so many murders and missing people cases so we simply avoid Toronto. After all, it is their problem. And their problem doesn’t affect us.
If we did this, and the government acted in this way, Toronto would feel less than Canadian. Like they were second class citizens of Canada. Perhaps they would begin to become angry and speak out or lash out at the very governments designed to help them. The rest of us would look on and demand the government stop them. At all costs, stop their poor behavior.
Would we care about the issues that caused it? The years of violence fueled by s system that ignores their basic needs for safety and security. Eventually new generations would be raised up in Toronto that know more of this violence than about being valued by Canada. And the cycle of violence and abuse continues and children get hurt. Girls and boys, just like girls and boys all across Canada, just like your own children, lose hope.
And that is tragedy upon tragedy.
Does God care? Of course, he does. He hurts when we hurt. The real question is:” Do we care?”
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Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.