- When Israel was rebellious and continually "did evil" in the sight of the Lord, He "gave them into the hands" of their oppressors and it even says "He sold them into the hands of their enemies" in Judges 2:14 - this is not God "allowing" something bad to happen, but He purposefully acted against His own children
- Job 1:1-6 paints a picture of Satan needing God's permission to harm Job, and guess what? He gave it...
- Jonah 1:4 tells us that God "hurled a great wind on the sea..." causing a great storm so that the "ship was about to break up"
- Do a search on the word "calamity" in the book of Jeremiah and you will see that God over and over talks about the calamity He was planning on bringing upon various people
- And then there is the infamous verse in Isaiah 45 where God says He causes well-being and creates calamity (v.7)
Friday, August 26, 2011
Our nation is bracing today for what is going to hit in the next 24 to 48 hours. There's no stopping her and short of an act of God changing her direction, Irene is going to leave great devastation in her wake. As believers in Jesus Christ, I can tell you that as sure as the sun will rise on Monday morning, we are going to be asked, "Where is your God in all of this?"
So how do you feel about that question? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you feel embarrassed that God "allowed" this to happen?
We were posed these questions after 9/11. Our God is challenged due to the poverty and starvation of third world countries, and the earthquake in Japan brought the same scrutiny and disdain for our supposed Sovereign God. Just the other day it was thrown in my face that if God created man and man sinned, then God created a faulty product and it's His responsibility that there is sin and suffering in the world, not man's.
I personally believe that our response to these questions is a test of our understanding of God - it's a perspective test. From our human perspective, we have decided that God is like us - what seems right in our eyes must be right in His. From justice to mercy to common sense, we were created in His image therefore we can hold Him accountable for what seems fair and just to us.
(INSERT HERE: Annoying game show buzzer sound)
I'm sorry, folks, but we really have the wrong perspective of God. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9) Yes, we are created in His image - with an eternal soul and a mind and emotions, but we are not gods. I am trying to come up with an example and I can't even get close to getting it right, but our questioning of God's actions, His ways, His plan and His will is like a newborn questioning its parents, or a cartoon questioning it's creator, or a cup of coffee questioning the man who invented the coffee machine. It's ludicrous.
So how do we get the proper perspective of God? Through reading His Word. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to us - it contains everything we need to know about Him. And when it comes to calamity, here are a few things God says about Himself:
Now, these are all somewhat negative statements to the mind of humans, and yet this is truth about God. He is in control. He does cause calamity (which is different from creating sin). He doesn't "allow" things, but purposefully acts. Do we have to understand it? No. Do we have to answer for it? No. He does what He pleases because He is God and we are not.
When people question God's intentions or His existence in light of great devastation and calamity, don't get flustered and try to find an excuse to explain away tragedy. Tell them that God is in control, that His purposes are always good even when we can't see them, that you have confidence in every action of God and that we are not in a place of judgment of Him.
And then tell them that you have put your faith and trust in the God of the Bible, Who also loved us so much that He gave His Son as a sacrifice to His holiness so that we could have an eternal relationship with Him.
That last statement alone is mind-blowing.