God, this still doesn’t make Sense

A family in the United States is without power due to a tornado. Another family in Africa has no power, or savings, or easy way to get food. Another family in America is always living at friends’ houses, or in motels—at least when they’re not on the street. In Europe, fear grips people in the wake of a terrorist attack as they go about there daily lives. In the Middle East, a family looks over the remains of their village due to a long civil war. In impoverished regions of the world, thousands of children are expected to die due to lack of food and clean water.

If God’s existence were determined by His prevention of our world’s pain, then He’d be done with the next natural disaster or the pain of hunger. “God, this doesn’t make sense.” 

We’re not the first ones to let difficulty cause us to doubt whether or not God is who He says He is and we will not be the last. John The Baptist ended up wrongly imprisoned after spending his whole life for God and preparing the way for Jesus. While in prison he was basically stating how little sense all of this was making when dispatching his own disciples if whether Jesus was the one. “Are you the one and if so, come break me out of jail.”

Well, Jesus did not save him from prison or his execution, stating instead that He is the saviour and John was truly blessed. Ok, so what then? Whether or not God diverts your struggle does not determine whether or not He is God. And, proof of how God feels about you might not be happening right now but consider the following, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

We tend to follow a dangerous line of thinking and rationalizing to describe every difficulty as something God intended to make us grow, but it’s equally risky to say that God never puts us through a trial to strengthen us. And yet, “God, how could you let this happen?” 

Perhaps when God doesn’t make sense, maybe it’s okay. It may not seem like it during the heat of the moment or the chilling wake after but He is God with Us.

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Searching for Peace in All the Wrong Places

THIS POST IS FROM TIM BRISTER. I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT!

In my reading of Scripture this morning, I came to John 16:33, which says:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

In Jesus = peace
In the world = tribulation

Let’s invert the words of Jesus for a moment:

Outside Jesus = judgment
Of the world = acceptance

For those who are in Christ, there is peace with God (Rom. 5:1) because of the warrior king (I have overcome the world) who is to us, the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). For those outside of Christ, there is judgment from God while there is acceptance with the world.

As I thought about this, I began thinking about all the songs from various artists that focus on world peace. The list of artists and musicians is a who’s who list for sure: Elvis, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, U2, The Eagles and Michael Jackson. These are songs with lyrics like:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

—John Lennon

What have we done to the world
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son …
What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine …
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth the weeping shores

—Michael Jackson

Most people think,
Great god will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights.

—Bob Marley

These men have written the songs of our age – an age desperately seeking peace in all the wrong places. The words of Jesus are a calibration to our course of living in the world. What we can expect from the world is not peace but tribulation. The world is groaning for redemption it cannot produce. Jesus makes all things new, and the kingdom inaugurated in his life, death, and resurrection is being established in the hearts of men who were once hostile in him and by nature children of wrath. Such men and women are made new by Jesus, in whom we have enduring peace.

We need to correct our expectations so that we can have greater participation in the work Jesus has called us to do. Calibrated expectations will direct our efforts so that the peace the world is desperately longing for will be found in an old-rugged cross and empty tomb. Jesus has overcome the world so that we would enter into it with the Gospel of peace.