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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

Finding God in the Pain

Lakewood Church in Houston

One person was killed in a shooting Sunday at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Every time one of these hideous events occurs, a debate over gun control breaks out in our country.  Well, I won't be participating in that discussion. In addition, there is the question of faith, “Where was God? The question seems to be backward, and I believe it is designed to serve evil's agenda. God's very nature is undermined by sinful acts like this and others.  The purpose of today's article is to discuss God's image.

Martin Luther replied to why God created man knowing he would sin, "Let us keep clear of abstract questions and consider the will of God as revealed to us."

What kind of God do you need? Take a moment to think about it.  Be honest with yourself. Rather than a father in heaven, some desire a grandfather: a senile, benevolent being who allows us to live our lives on our own terms.  As a result, we have pushed faith into a corner from which it cannot be rescued, creating a crisis of faith. Nevertheless, we want a God who responds quickly when we face a crisis. We saw accepting Jesus in the Super Bowl commercials. He wants us all to be happy at the end of the day.

What Do We Know About God?

Isaiah 6:3 “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

In Hebrew, if a word appears more than once, it is for comparison.  When the word "Holy" appears three times in a row, it means there is no comparison to God's holiness in all creation.  His position is unique.  His being is free of sin and evil.

Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved.”

The first thing evil does when it strikes is attack the heart of God's mercy.  As Paul reminds us, God is a God of mercy. As one writer puts it, "Mercy removes misery, while love confers salvation." God's love motivates His mercy, and notice His love comes despite our brokenness.  While we were still sinners, He (God) loved us.

1 John 4:8Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.”

Neon Love sign

John encourages Christians to love Christians

but not to exclude non-Christians. Don't lose sight of the fact that God and His love are the basis of our love. It is because God is the source of love. In God, true love springs from or flows from (ek) God. God is the source or spring of true love.

Jeremiah 10:12 “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.”

We serve an Almighty God. In no way is he powerless. It is the Evil One's goal to portray God as a helpless old man sitting in his rocking chair, watching all the events unfold around Him, powerless to intervene. Nothing could be further from the truth. In every case of evil striking, you hear how it could have been worse, and we attribute this protection to luck rather than God. Notice that heroes are always present when catastrophe strikes.

This reminds me of something my wife told me about Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame).

"In the wake of the horrific attacks in Manchester, England, many people shared a famous quote by everyone's favorite neighbor. His mother always said, when there was a catastrophe, ‘always look for the helpers.’ No matter how bad things are, there are always people helping.’"

First Responder

If you look closely enough, you see God in the heroes. We see brave men and women rise up in nearly every story when bad things happen to restore our faith in humanity.  Oftentimes, those heroes remind us of God's faithfulness. This last tragedy has been marked by stories of faith.  There were people in the church who said they just started to pray. They were unsure they would make it out alive, but they had a blessed assurance of a reunion with the Father. Despite the darkness, faith gives Christians hope.

Christians have the ability to remain confident in God in the midst of uncertainty.  In times like this, when everything around us is broken and painful, we cling to this hope. Christian believers find it a source of strength; unbelievers find it unintelligible.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

The final characteristic of God is his consistency and constancy. The character of God does not change; the love of God endures forever.  Whenever we need comfort, we can turn to a changeless, loving, almighty, and merciful God.

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