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Archive for September, 2017

I don’t know why you are hurting, or how you may relate to others in your pain. Only God knows all the reasons and the depth of our suffering; God is not the reason for our pain, but he understands. Some people become angry with themselves, with God, or with everyone. The same person may react in different ways at different times. People who are hurting may wound other people in turn, even if only through the empathy of others. The ripples often run much deeper though. Loneliness begets loneliness. Emptiness leads to emptiness. Our frustration creates frustration in those around us. We lash out at others, dragging them down with us. Sometimes this is even intentional. It is difficult to believe but sometimes people take pleasure in the suffering of others.

Don’t make the common mistake of blaming this mess of a world on God. There are several things that the Bible says that God is not, or is not to blame for. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love (2nd Timothy 1:7). God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1st Corinthians 14:33). When Elijah had been instructed to come out of a cave where he was hidden, first there came a terrible wind, then an earthquake, followed by a fire. The Bible says that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire (1st Kings 19:11,12). Elijah heard him afterward as a still small voice.

“Never blame the rainbows for the rain.” Don’t blame God for the problems of life. On the sea of Galilee, when a storm threatened his disciples (Mark 4:37-39), Jesus “arose and rebuked the wind.” That implies that the storm had an outside cause. There is such a thing as judgement, but the undiscerning and unaffected either think it’s all or nothing; some think it non-existent, and others imagine it in every instance. Job’s “friends” insinuated that his suffering, even the loss of his children, was due to God’s judgement of him (Job 4:1-5:4), but God judged that they were wrong (Job 42:7-8). Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

The Bible says that when one hurts, we all hurt (1st Corinthians 12:26). We are all in this together, but there is a spirit of misunderstanding and deception that often plays us against each other. It can sometimes turn us against God, but remember that when we are hurt, God is hurt (Isaiah 63:9). Don’t forsake prayer regardless of the situation. I think that God is the actual target, and that his love for us makes him vulnerable. I believe that we are being used as human shields by a deceptive enemy in an all-out war against God. I understand why people seek an escape, but ultimately there is no real hope apart from Jesus.

God, as Jesus Christ, put himself within our reach. He became vulnerable, became God incarnate, to use a more religious sounding term. It is a theological mistake to try to set him on a pedestal out beyond the stars somewhere. That isn’t what he wants (Revelation 21:3-5)). He wants his presence to make a difference in our lives, here and now in this world, and in the next, and not to have to leave us to our own devices.

By the way, the word “world,” (werald, or weralt) means “old man.” According to the dictionary, it comes from the old English words “wer,” which meant “man,” and “eald,” an ancient spelling of “old.” By the same token the word “werewolf,” for the fictional creature of horror stories, simply means man-wolf. This changing world is often the real horror story. I don’t need to try to tell you all about it. We all hear a bit of the news. All of us have our own experience.

In my short lifetime the world has begun to grow old, but I think that this is only the temporal reality. God has promised to eventually create a new heavens and a new earth. He will have to, for man will destroy this one. No deception or misunderstanding will ever darken the new world (2nd Peter 3:13). The hearts of its inhabitants will be ready for a new day (Hebrews 8:10). It will be what God wanted from the very beginning.

Wherever we are or whatever we are going through, we are not as alone as we may feel. God is with us. It is a simple matter to be found; all we have to do is call (Acts 2:21). As the world goes on, the good shepherd is searching through time for his children yet unborn.

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