"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

March 14, 2011

Walking with God through trouble

In the past week there have been many tragedies.  A family in PA lost 7 children to a house fire.  A massive earthquake, followed by many aftershocks, struck Japan causing so much destruction.  And the earthquake triggered a tsunami which took so many lives.  It's heart-breaking.  And these are not the only tragedies in the world.  There are a lot of people living in poverty, who don't have the money for good food, water, and clothing.  There are children being bullied in school for looking or acting differently than everyone else.  People cannot find jobs to provide for their families.

In all these things we often to ask:

God how could you let these things happen?

Does God really care? 

Is God really in control?

After asking these questions we can choose many different paths to find an answer. 

Some people choose the easy path of apathy.  They see the tragedy and say "oh, that's so sad."  And then turn around and go back to their comfortable world.

Some ask these questions and come to the conclusion that there is no God, all these things that happen are just random. 

Some, after asking, still believe there is a God, but they feel betrayed, hurt, bitter, and angry with God for allowing these senseless things to happen.  I've been down that path and it is not pretty.  I have so many old journal entries that read something like, "God, I know you could fix this, but I don't think you're going to."  And that made me so mad.  After going down this path, it is difficult to start trusting God again with our every day.

Some people see the tragedy and immediately want to help.  They pour themselves into donating, gathering supplies, and missions work.  These things are good to do because Jesus did them, but so often, we are trying to do all the work that Jesus did, and forget about Jesus completely.  We forget about sharing his love and mercy in the midst of all the tragedy and good works.

Last of all, some people choose what I think may be the most difficult but the most rewarding path.  We can see tragedy and turn to God.  That does not mean we can't cry and ask God these questions.  I have no idea why these things happen.  But times of trouble are an opportunity for growth.  In times of trouble people are vulnerable and searching for answers in a world that is painful and unloving.  In those times we realize that we can't do things on our own strength.  These immense tragedies offer an opportunity for us to inject Christ's love into hurting, searching people.  It won't be easy, because they probably ask these same questions and I know that I don't have the answers.

To me, this last way holds the most hope.  It means that I don't need to control my life.  Sure, I have choices that I need to make, but I can turn to God for help with my decisions.  It doesn't mean that I can sit around and do nothing or worry about everything, it just means that I need to be a prayer "warrior" instead of a "worrier." 

When we see trouble or have our own tragedies we have a lot of choices to make.  One of those choices: we can let the hard times and trouble draw us closer to God or we can turn away from him.

I believe that God is in control and he cares about us so much more than we can imagine.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
   And when I wake up,
      you are still with me!"
~Psalm 139:13-18

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