God wins. Explaining God to a Hurting World

Author: Jean Arthur
December 13, 2018

Every day one is bombarded with upsetting stories on news broadcasts, in newspapers and internet posts.  Mass shootings have become so common that we now have trouble distinguishing one from the other.  I used to remember details about all the mass shootings and similar incidents:  Columbine, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma bombing.  Now, when I hear the name of someone accused or convicted of yet another mass shooting, I must think (or Google) to try to associate the culprit with the incident. 
Porch pirating, in which people steal just-delivered packages from door steps is so common that people install surveillance cameras and post photos of the thieves on websites developed for that purpose.
Politics in our country seems out of control. Some political leaders lie with abandon and do not seem to care whether they are viewed as people with high morals.

Then there are natural disasters, such as the flooding in the Carolinas after hurricane Florence and fires that destroyed so much in California.

The bad news is unrelenting.   In some respects, the world seems to have gone utterly and irreversibly mad.  And that is not even including what might be happening in our personal life with relationships, health, work or finances.

When faced with all this, the question I often ask myself (and others) is, “how do I explain God when the situation seems so bad?”  I admit to turning my eyes to the sky periodically,  saying “God, please do not abandon us.”

I watched a documentary once in which two scholars discussed the existence of God. One who did not believe in God, made the argument that we should not want anything to do with a being who allows pain and suffering when He can stop it and who says we must worship Him or face the consequences.  A similar point is made in the film, God on Trial, in which men in the barracks at Auschwitz Nazi Concentration Camp decided to put God on trial for breaking His covenant with the Jewish people by allowing them to experience such suffering.

I understand these thoughts and wonder, how do I explain a loving God to someone looking at all this hurt?  How do I even explain God to myself sometimes?

Turns out there is not an easy answer.  It takes faith.  When faced with the constant flow of bad things happening all around us, we need to pause and remember the times when God  intervened in the little things in our lives.  Each of us, I am sure, can come up with numerous occasions when God helped us in some small way, such as finding a misplaced item, finding an item we needed at the store at a huge reduction in price, or someone coming to our aid just when help was most needed.

None of these things are necessarily life-changing but God cared and sent help.  At times when I have had an experience where God intervened in a small matter, I say to myself “there is a God.”  Not that I doubt God’s existence, but I am reminding myself that God cares for all aspects of my life.

Faith comes in when it seems there is no end to the bad news and the world is spiraling downward. We remind ourselves that God promised that He will take care of us.  He has done so in many ways, big and small, and He is not going back on His promise now.  He told us that we may not understand His ways or His timing, but He is with us always.

Yes, the world can seem awful these days, but there are also signs every day of God’s love and caring. That is what we tell the world. God keeps His promises and He wins in the end.  

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