When we consider the love of God, we must first understand who God is and who we are. God is holy, and in establishing His covenant with the people of Israel, He communicated His character and expectations. God stated, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). However, humanity falls short of this holiness. Scripture affirms, “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God, being just and upright, has the authority to condemn the guilty and send them to hell. He will “render to each one according to his works” (Romans 2:6).
The Tragic Shipwreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
Over the last several hundred years there have been about six thousand shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, but one wreck stands out among the rest—the Edmund Fitzgerald. On November 10, 1975, this ship sank on the eastern part of Lake Superior during one of the largest storms ever recorded on North America’s largest lake. All twenty-nine crew members, including Captain Ernest McSorley, tragically lost their lives. With winds howling at one hundred mph and thirty-foot waves crashing against the ship, the sheer power of nature was on full display. The exact cause of the ship’s sinking remains unknown, but its eerie remains rest five hundred feet below the surface approximately twenty miles north of Whitefish Point.
Remembering the Tragedy Through Song
The Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck holds a special place in people’s memory, in part because of Canadian singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot read about the tragedy in the newspaper and was deeply moved. He composed a song that vividly describes the events of that fateful night. His lyrics raise a profound question: “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” Lightfoot’s question resonates with the common inquiry that arises in times of tragedy: Where was God during the storm? How could a ship full of men, with so much life ahead of them, meet such a fate? Similar questions have been asked by others, like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who have raised doubts about the love of God in the face of suffering and eternal damnation.
Understanding God’s Character and Humanity’s Condition
To answer these weighty questions correctly, it is crucial to start with the right foundation. When we consider the love of God, we must first understand who God is and who we are. God is holy, and in establishing His covenant with the people of Israel, He communicated His character and expectations. God stated, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). However, humanity falls short of this holiness.