Are you in a good place today but trying to make sense of the chaos all around you? Maybe you’re in a dark place wondering what else can possibly go wrong? Have you stopped and wondered where in the world is God today and why isn’t He doing something?
People have been falling away from churches in large numbers over the last two decades and one poll says that a top reason is that believers cannot reconcile a ‘good’ God with the reality of evil and worldwide suffering. The truth at times is inconvenient and bothersome, but that doesn’t make it any less true. God is where He has always been. He is sovereign over all creation and dwells in us today. So, what’s different? Perhaps it is our perception of God and His promises.
What exactly did God promise us? He promises to give those of us who “receive Him and believe in His Name – the right to be a child of God” (John 1:12). As a child of God, we are loved, cared for, and forgiven. When we live a life of surrender to our Heavenly Father, He promises us eternal life. He never said that life here on earth would be free of suffering or turmoil. In fact, Jesus said,
” 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.” (John 16:33)
God does not take away trials and suffering. He walks with us through them. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “deliver us from evil.” He does not ask the Father to eliminate evil, but to protect our souls from the power of evil and eternal damnation. The truth is that God’s promises are not about making life here on earth as comfortable as possible – but ensuring that our souls are nourished and protected for the rewards of eternal life.
In the midst of uncertainty, we need a change of perspective. When we feel God is absent, it’s time to pray for an eternal perspective. It’s time to trust that He is clearing a path for us even when we cannot see around the corner. It’s time to cling to our faith that He is working things together for our good. “[God] does not promise that night will not come, or that it will not be terrifying…He promises that we will not be left alone. He will keep watch with us in the night.”1
Perhaps Jonathan Martin in his book, How to Survive a Shipwreck, says it best, “The truth was hiding in plain sight, the way the truth always is before loss, failure, and suffering open our eyes to it.” “God is at work not in the world as it should be, but in the world as it actually is.” God’s world was perfect, but then sin entered it through Adam and Eve. God’s loved us too much to abandon us and He went to Plan B. He would resurrect the world He created from the power of evil that had entered it. Suffering exists because of sin, and because Jesus had to die on the Cross to redeem us and show us the greatness of the love of God for sinners.
So, take heart. We have a loving and faithful God who cheers and weeps with us. A God who gives us hope and a future. Give thanks to Him in all things, particularly for the grace, strength, peace, rest, and comfort He provides in times of struggle. He is a God of redemption, and His focus is always on our safe passage home to Heaven.
‘Heaven, don’t miss it for the world.’