Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“Our faith is built in the dark, in the valleys, and during the tragedies of this life.” ― Dana Arcuri

             Every week it seems, I read or hear of another mass tragedy with people driving their cars into crowds, or going on killing sprees, or blowing things up and killing innocent women and children in the process.  Whenever this happens it always brings to mind the question of how can a loving God allow this kind of death and suffering?  
          If you read the New Testament you will find that a very honest Jesus told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might—He said it is going to happen.  Now, many of you are parents or had some or know some. Yet, even before children are conceived, their parents know that children sometimes die, sometimes have birth defects, may get their hearts broken, or may run away from home.  All parents know that but we still want children. Why? Because we know there is also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning.  I recount a story later in this blog of a child who suffered, but his parents are forever glad they had him, and you will understand when you read about him.  Now, this analogy of parents is far from perfect, but think about God. He undoubtedly knew we’d turn against Him or ignore Him, and would hurt Him, but He also knew many people would choose to follow Him and have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him,and it was all worth it, we were worth it, even though it would cost His own Son great pain and suffering and death to achieve our redemption.
            I once heard and loved the story that British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. He had been in and out of hospitals his whole life — and yet he made the astounding comment that he thinks God is fair. Reid asked him, “How old are you?” The boy said, “Seventeen.” Reid asked, “How many years have you spend in hospitals?” The boy said, “Thirteen years.” The pastor said with astonishment, “And you think that is fair?” And the boy replied: “Well, God has all eternity to make it up to me.”
             If we love God, if we trust God, and if we focus on what we can do in response to evil and suffering, we will not only find God in ourselves, we will help others to know that God loves us more than we can ever understand and that we will have an eternity with Him surrounded by perfect love.  Whenever there is a tragedy, Mr. Rogers says to look for the helpers.  I think that Christ would say that since there will always be tragedies--be one of the helpers.  This life was never meant to be heaven, it was meant to be a proving ground for what kind of Christians we can rise to be.  When we get to the end of ourselves, we begin to find God.  That's the truth of it.
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