In my devotions, I’m grappling with the issue of terrorism and where God is in the midst of it.
The Psalms tell us over and over that God is our protector and will protect us from our enemies, yet we see non-Christians and Christians alike dying in war and violence. Why is this happening if God loves us and offers to protect us? Further digging into Scripture reveals that sin is the the result of our own doing. God is not an evil doer and does not do evil things. We do based on our greed, anger and hatred. We blow up buildings, judge other people, shoot our neighbors and hoard our things.
If we accept that evil is the result of humanity’s desire to sin, then what is being asked is, “Why doesn’t God interfere when people mess up their lives?” The truth is that God has. God showed us the way to peace when he heald the soldier’s ear that Simon Peter cut off to protect Jesus. He showed us a way to protection when he cried out on cross: “Father forgive them.” He gave us the way to the Kingdom when He said
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5
Perhaps a story told by Dr. A. A. Hodges will help clarify the issue a bit: One day, a man rushed into the presence of Dr. Witherspoon, an eighteenth century clergyman. “Dr. Witherspoon,” he shouted, “help me to thank God for His wonderful providence! My horse ran away, my buggy was dashed to pieces on the rocks, and behold! I am unharmed.” The good doctor smiled benevolently at the inconsistent, imperfect character of the man’s religion. “Why,” he answered, “I know a Providence a thousand times better than that. I have driven down that rocky road to Princeton hundreds of times, and my horse never ran away and my buggy was never dashed to pieces.” Here is a truth few Christians grasp. An accident occurs and we have a seemingly miraculous deliverance. Immediately, we see God’s hand in it and praise Him and tell others of His marvelous act of providence. It never occurs to us to thank Him for the times when we were spared even the accident.
It is commonly believed that nothing will go wrong for a child of God. That was what Job’s friends thought. That is why they spent so much effort trying to convince Job that he must have sinned and incurred God’s anger. But they were wrong (Job 42:7). Christians will be caught up in the world and its sin and will be hurt by it. However, we are assured that ultimately we will not be destroyed and ultimately we have new life and new hope. Maybe the protection God promises us is not protection from a bomb or a bullet but from being caught up in the sin and anger and violence ourselves. When we seek revenge or to “get someone” it is sin that is covering us and can be worse than anything that can be done to us. As Christians, let us hold onto power and control and not be brought to the darkside (remember, that is why the emperor in Star Wars wanted Luke to get angry, because it leads to sin…yes, I AM excited about the Star Wars movie coming out). Maybe, just maybe if we stay in the light and the hope and forgiveness and love, then ultimately sin and war and violence will end. I believe it will happen because I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe that THY KINGDOM shall indeed come and when it does, “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;” -Psalm 46