ISIS slaughtering thousands, most likely hundreds of thousands when hidden from the world’s eye.
North Korea blacking out their citizens, keeping them disconnected from the freer, outside world.
Chinese officers storming into individual’s homes upon discovering a second pregnancy, the unforgivable sin.
Ebola ravaging African countries, snuffing out the lives of the natives and the doctors and nurses sent to help them.
Illegal immigrants pouring through the United States’ borders and receiving free everything, per legal citizens’ taxes.
Our President golfing, again per legal citizens’ taxes, carefree and seemingly oblivious to the turmoil within his own country.
Christians persecuted, living underground, worshiping in secret, ministering to their villages and families in whispers, risking discovery in order to further grace.
Western Christians, living luxuriously in comparison, faced with different challenges to their faith, like apathy, apostasy, heresy, and the sneaky kind of idolatry that doesn’t live on a prominent household shelf or in a shrine.
Unborn children ripped limb to limb, simply because their mother doesn’t feel like being responsible.
The world seems to be on the brink of World War III.
The chaos of philosophies and religions that target the truth of Christ hum and buzz about our ears in an attempt to drown Him out.
All of it rings into a crescendo, screeching, howling, whistling, “Where is God? Where is He? He cannot be here. He cannot be anywhere at all. If He was, and if He was good, everything, everything would be right. Everything would be clear. Everything would be understood.”
But it’s not.
It’s easy to get swept into the fray, to be tossed about on the waves of doubt.
It was easy for Adam and Eve in the garden, when the devil hissed in Eve’s ear, “Did God really say…?”
It was easy then, it’s easy now. Even Christians, true believers, stumble on stones or sink in sand, struggling at first to continue on the Lord’s path, but eventually, discouraged and anxious, they lie helplessly.
All their praises to the Lord seem ridiculous now. It all seems fruitless. Even the devout Christians wonder, in sin, “Is God really there?”
My dear friends, He most certainly is.
This is not the first catastrophe to rock our globe. This is not the first time God has worked through evil men and women to bring about His glorious and good plan.
Consider Saul, before God saved him and dubbed him “Paul”, when he mercilessly murdered every Christian he could find. God used these actions to strike Paul and to call him to repentance. God’s will was executed. If it weren’t for Paul’s horrendous past, he would not preach so greatly about the incomprehensible grace of God.
Consider Pharaoh, when Moses, on God’s mission, commands him to let God’s people go. The Bible says, numerously, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.” God hardens the hearts. And, despite the Israelites’ complaints and Moses’ discouragement, despite this hardened heart, God’s will was executed. He destroyed the Egyptian army and rescued His people from slavery.
Consider, most importantly, all of humanity, when we tormented and taunted the Son of God, when we dangled Him from a cross and jabbed a thorny crown into His head, purely for spite. When we jeered and spat and ridiculed Him. And when He pleaded with God to forgive us, while struggling for breath and covered in blood and splinters. God’s will was executed. He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that sinners like you and me have a chance at reconciliation with God.
So do not think that God is dead, or asleep, or evil. He knows precisely what has happened. He knows intimately what is happening. And He knows perfectly what is going to happen. Not because He’s following the manual that came with creation, but because He is orchestrating every last moment.
Do not lose heart! The God who determines your next breath has already determined the future of the world as we know it.
“Let us ever rest our souls on the thought that our times are in God’s hands. He knows the best season for sending help to His church and new light to the world. Let us beware of giving way to over-anxiety about the course of events around us, as if we knew better than the King of kings what time relief should come. ‘Cease, Philip, to try to govern the world,’ was a frequent saying of Luther to an anxious friend. It was a saying full of wisdom.
The prophet Micah had foretold that the Christ would be born at Bethlehem. God overruled the time when Augustus decreed the taxing and directed the enforcement of the decree in such a way that Mary must needs be at Bethlehem for the birth. Little did the haughty Roman emperor imagine he was an instrument in the hands of the God of Israel, carrying out the purposes of the King of kings.”
J.C. Ryle, Daily Readings From All Four Gospels