A person wrote, “What’s the use of praying after all the killings and natural disasters?” In other words, shouldn’t an all-powerful and loving God prevent horrors before they happen? If God sees all, knows all, can do it all, then fix it already. My friend, you’re mistaking Batman for God.

Maturing in spirituality, it was jarring to realize God doesn’t answer to me, nor needs my approval. He’s not on my timetable. If I cannot understand the mindset of my spouse, then how am I to fathom the mind of God? He doesn’t snap lightning bolt fingers to get the job done. But this I know: He works through relationship, first with him, and then through each other.

In the Bible, Jesus was asked what was the most important rule, and it had a twofold aspect. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).

For years “with all your …” was the missing piece. I was only half in love with God, half listening, only half-inclined to go the distance with my neighbor.

Now I’m all in, but the finish line is distant. I don’t race fast or hard. Often I have to catch my breath and take breaks. When the news gets unbearable, I’m heaving at the side of the road, but I’m all in because faith gives me hope.

Too much of our society and planet are sick, and much of it is manmade: Global violence, starvation, animal extinction, pollution, nuclear threats and mass killings.

The individual use of free will is unpredictable, but when we don’t like the results, we blame God. That’s like setting a three-story, wooden Victorian on fire, and then blaming the firefighters for not doing enough.

God works through people’s hearts, and people’s hearts are changed through relationship. When people unite against injustice. When voice is given to the voiceless. When help is sent to disaster victims. We rejoice together, we mourn together. It’s about relationship, and connecting with others for positive change.

Folks wonder, “How can you believe in God with all the horror in the world?”

I wonder, “How can you not believe in God with all the horror in the world?”

Relying only on myself and others is limited by our very humanity. There is disappointment, anger and fingerpointing.

I trust in someone higher. God didn’t make the mess, he doesn’t “poof” away the mess, but he will work through the mess. Faith gives rise to hope, and hope to love. Sticking with God allows me to believe in you. It’s about relationship and we’ll get through this together.

— Email Suzette Standring: suzmar@comcast.net or visit www.readsuzette.com. The award-winning author writes for The Patriot Ledger and is syndicated through GateHouse Media.