Thu. Jun 17th, 2021

BY GWENDOLYN M. DIAZ

 

The horrific images of 9/11/01 can never be erased from our memories, nor will the deep sense of tragedy ever be completely removed from our hearts. The attacks have raised many questions in the minds of both
believers and seekers.

Why did God allow this to take place?

Where was God when this was being planned and carried out?

Why didn’t God stop it?

Here are some thoughts that can help us deal with the anguish in our world.

I DON’T MISTAKE THE PRESENCE OF PAIN FOR THE ABSENCE OF GOD.

In John 11, Martha and Mary deeply mourned the sudden loss of their brother. Both ran to Jesus lamenting, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” They equated the sickness and death of their brother with an oversight by God – if only God had been paying attention, He could have intervened and this terrible thing would not have happened. But God was paying attention! Earlier in the chapter we read that Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick and intentionally waited until he was dead to start traveling to Bethany. God did not heal Lazarus, because He wanted to do something even more significant. Jesus told Martha, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” He then proceeded to raise a 4-day-old corpse from the dead in dramatic fashion calling, “Lazarus, come out!”

We don’t expect God to raise anyone from the dead in New York – or even reassemble the towers. For His own reasons, God did not intervene as we might wish He had, but we know He wasn’t sleeping on the job.

II DON’T MISTAKE THE POWER OF EVIL FOR THE IMPOTENCE OF GOD.

If God is so powerful and loving, why doesn’t He stop all pain and suffering right now? This question trips up many people as they search for spiritual truth. That’s because one of their premises k incorrect.
The, reason it this way:

If God is all-good, He will destroy evil.
If God is all-powerful, He can destroy evil.
Evil is not destroyed.
Therefore, there is no all-good, all-powerful God.

However, this reasoning is shortsighted because it’s one word. Let’s restate the dilemma and its conclusion correctly:

If God is all-good, He will destroy evil.
If God is all-powerful, He can destroy evil.
Evil is not destroyed YET.
BUT evil will be destroyed one day by this all-good, all-powerful God.

Some of the Christians Peter addressed in his letters faced great suffering, and began to wonder if God lacked the power to make things right. Peter reminded them that when God finally does “reconcile the
books” and bring justice upon the earth, He will do so completely. Peter encouraged his friends to “not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise… He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9). God is waiting as long as possible so that as many people as possible can come to know Him. Meanwhile it is our task to attract others to a relationship with Him that will allow them to spend their eternity free from sorrow in His presence.

III REMEMBER, THE DEPTH OF DARKNESS ONLY ENHANCESS THE LIGHT.

It is only in the darkness of night that the glittering brightness of the stars can be seen, and it is in the darkness of pain and suffering that our lives can shine as lights. In his many years as a devoted follower of Christ, Paul became an expert in the school of adversity. With eternity in mind, he was able to face earthly trials with courage, hope and joy. Paul’s response to personal (and corporate) tragedy consistently raised the curiosity of unbelievers around him. As they saw the light of Christ shining through him, many were drawn to his Savior. In Philippians 2:14-16, he encourages the believers to “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life….”

Our job, as we wait for God to end all pain, suffering and tears, is to hold fast to the word of God and let it shine through us in a dark and desperate world. It’s exciting to live in a time when our lives can really make a difference!

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

 

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY COMMON GROUND, JANUARY 2002, VOL. 20, NO. 1. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

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