These days, we hear so much tragedies happening all over the world. The innocent teens shot at in Norway shocked the world. And such terrible massacre wasMessage 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2011View Source
These days, we hear so much tragedies happening all over the world. The innocent teens shot at in Norway shocked the world. And such terrible massacre was perpetrated by none other than a fanatical young man who claimed to be a fundamental Christian!! This was more shocking to hear. There are incidents of terrorism rocking many parts of the world including India.
When we hear such news, we become so saddened and depressed thinking why such things happen? Some even get disappointed with God and lose faith in Him. The Bible is full of men sinking into despondency precisely for this reason. Peter and the other disciples after crucifixion of Christ. Elijah when he heard of the threats of Jezebel. David when his son Absalom pursued him. The list goes on.
But why things happen like that?
Sometimes we experience adversities because of our own folly or sin. Part of maturity is to accept my mistakes, admit my sins and hopefully learn from the experience.
Adversities as a result of our own folly are almost easier to bear. But not all setbacks can be attributed to personal sins or folly. And this presents the believer with a number of thorny epistemological questions: "How can an Omnipotent God let bad things happen to me unless He is powerless to preventing them and therefore protecting me?" "How can a loving God allow nearly 90 innocent teenagers perish in the recent massacre in Norway?" Such questions can not be satisfied even if one proposes that there may have been some greater purpose behind this disappointment or disaster. One could argue if God could not have chosen a less painful way of driving home His point. To take this argument to the extreme, what possible explanation can one have in response to the death of the millions, many of whom were innocent children, in the Second World War?
How to Respond to all this?
The inability to have a reasonable way of understanding such events led many to the conclusion that God must surely be dead. If not dead, then aloof and removed from intervening in human events. Or perhaps powerless. This was the very place God began in His response to Job (Job 38). Instead of explaining Himself or justifying His actions, God simply reasserted who He is. Thus whilst we are unable to understand God's actions, our lack of understanding does not mean that God is not who He proclaims Himself to be. It is our lack of wisdom, or more correctly our lack of faith that is on trial, not God. God does not require us to understand- only believe that He is who He said He is. Thus the response to events that go wrong or do not go our way should be to remain faithful to Him.
What we need to guard against is not being able to see the bigger picture and only focus on the immediacy of the loss. The bigger picture is reflected in the encouraging words, "be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming." (James 5:7) We are reminded that makind though lost and fallen is not doomed to repeat the follies of history. With every successive rise of oppressive regimes and wicked dictators, we are reminded that the Lord's Second Coming draws nearer. When that happens, everyone will be required to give an account for his actions. When He comes again, all our human striving and suffering will come to an end. Thus, as believers in God, our response should be to continue to acknowledge the supreme wisdom and power of God. And when our strong emotions are allowed to be experienced and given vent, we can then acknowledge the supremacy of God over all events including those that affect our lives.
How should we live in the face of adversities that were not of our making?
First, remind ourselves of who God is and chose to remain faithful to Him.
Second, grieve if we must.
And finally, remember that the Lord is coming when all wrongs will be made right.
If the wait seemed long to us, it is only because a thousand years is to the Lord as one day and one day as a thousand years.
In the meantime, don't let your experience go to waste. Comfort others with the comfort that you yourself have been comforted with. You know someone experiencing hardship? Be a supportive friend. Allow the aggrieved person the opportunity to be his or her true self. Let them express their feelings freely. We offer this type of supportive relationship by being available. Accepting and not judging nor condemning their actions is also helpful in showing support. We can also be helpful by being sensitive to the needs of the hurt individual.
Our Lord is coming back soon. And when He does, He will establish justice. His promise provides hope for the future and a balm for the present disappointments.
><> Letter # 30 (31. 7. 2011) < ><> More encouragement at : www.ctouch.org.in/encouragement.html