Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where Is God?!?

I recently read an article by Frank Schaeffer in the Huffington Post that demanded (he didn't really ask, but rather accusingly demanded) to know where God is when suffering occurs. Schaeffer says,

"Where is God when a child is shot in Newtown or hung in Auschwitz or killed in an American drone air strike or for that matter dies of cancer? I don't know. There is no answer."

Schaeffer doesn't allow the reader to consider options, but definitively declares that "there is NO answer" (emphasis mine). His accusations continue further and insinuate that God borders on being a monster and is guilty of Depraved Indifference:

"If the creator could intervene personally when it came to the magic tricks in the Bible like making the sun stand still for a day in a battle, he could have done something about that child gasping out his young life. He didn't. Theology that tries to paper this horrible fact over with explanations about why there is evil is nothing but nervous blather. "

Depraved Indifference is a punishable offense in the united states. It is defined as

"conduct [that] must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime."

To put all of this another way, Schaeffer has judged God and found Him wanting. Schaeffer expects that God should tremble in the hands of angry sinners who demand answers. Schaeffer's sense of morality and understanding of right and wrong trump any revealed definitions of God's morality or decreed lines of right and wrong and leave God guilty. In Schaeffer's world, God has no right to stand by and allow suffering, much less decree suffering.

We don't have to look far in scripture to find that this argument is not a new one. As Christians, we can easily answer this, because our Lord Jesus was asked this very question, and answered it directly. In Luke 13:1-5, some people in the crowd that were listening to Jesus preach challenged him in the same tone that Schaeffer challenges God. They wanted to know about two current events of that day in which seemingly innocent people were killed. One had to do with political violence in which the leader of that day had killed people for their religious views, and the other had to do with a tower that had fallen over and killed 18 people. The text does not tell us who the 18 were, so one can surmise from the text that it may have included some women and children. Where was God in all of this? Was God just in allowing such tragedy to occur?

What was Jesus' answer? He simply answered both events with these words:

"No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” 

To Schaeffer, and all who would challenge God's actions in His universe, I would say that there IS an answer to where God is in all of this. We are not left to wonder why bad things happen in this world. God calls us not to wonder about others, but to examine ourselves. Unless WE repent, WE will all likewise PERISH!" God is not an Evil Guilty God in the hands of Righteous People, but rather, People are sinners in the Hands of a Righteous and Holy God. We should tremble and examine ourselves, and seek repentance.

Should God intervene to stop all tragedies, whether "natural" or "man-made?" Should he step in and prevent sin? I tell you, he is going to. The bible says that he is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

Psalm 96:13 before the Lord, for he comes,for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness
Acts 17:30-31:
"now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 

If God returns right now to put an end to suffering and death, he will have to remove all sin. That includes everything and every ONE who practices sin. Are you ready for Him to return and do that? Will you survive such a purge of this planet?

Instead, God is patiently waiting for you to repent and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for the sin of all who repent and trust in him.

2 Peter 3:9-10: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodieswill be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed."

God is just as angry as Schaeffer that this world is full of sin and misery. And He has promised to come again and make all things right.

As with Schaeffer, there are many who look at the sins of the world and assume that God will judge on a curve. That somehow, they are better than those whom God should punish. Each person should privately consider these matters, but they should do so on God's terms, not their own. If you want to know how you measure up against God's standard so that you can know for sure what your fate will be on the day that He WILL return to set things right, go to to take the test. Be honest as you do, and be ready to have your world rocked.

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