Today’s Word from Philip Yancey…
Has it really been two years since Janet and I joined you in worship at Trinity Lutheran? No one could have predicted the changes in all our lives since that time. Here’s a reminder of where to put our trust, despite the confusion around us.
Many things happen in this world that are clearly against “God’s will.” Read the prophets, God’s designated spokesmen, who thunder against idolatry, injustice, violence, and other manifestations of human sin and rebellion. Read the Gospel accounts, where Jesus upsets the religious establishment by freeing people from disabilities the divines had deemed “God’s will.” Providence may be a great mystery, nonetheless I find no justification for blaming God for what God so clearly opposes.
The skeptic’s question does not melt away, though: How can I praise God for the good things in life without blaming him for the bad? I can do so only by establishing an attitude of trust, based on what I have learned in relationship with God.
I find a parallel in my human relationships. If I am waiting for my friend Ron at a rendezvous point, and he has not shown up an hour past the agreed-upon time, I do not start cursing his irresponsibility and thoughtlessness. Years of friendship have taught me that Ron is prompt and responsible. I assume that some other circumstance—a flat tire? an accident?—over which he has no control, has interfered with his plans. Those I love, I credit for good things and try not to blame for bad, assuming instead other forces are at work. Together, we have developed a pattern of trust and discerning love.
Over time, both through personal experience and my study of the Bible, I have come to know certain qualities of God as well. God’s style often baffles me: God moves at a slow pace, prefers rebels and prodigals, restrains power, and speaks in whispers and silence. Yet even in these qualities I see evidence of God’s longsuffering, mercy, and desire to woo rather than compel. When in doubt, I focus on Jesus, the most unfiltered revelation of God’s own self. I learn to trust God, and when some tragedy or evil occurs that I cannot synthesize with the God I have come to know and love, then I look to other explanations.
~ Adapted from “Reaching for the Invisible God”
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