Where is God When We Need Him?
Christians who are caught in the snare of the dominant secular culture reveal their lack of biblical knowledge and their relationship with God when tragedy strikes; that’s when we hear the endless common refrain “Where is God when we need him?”
We hear this question especially when there are natural calamities like earthquakes and hurricanes with large loss of life; and recently we have both. The mere utterance of this question tells you a great deal about the questioner. The persons who asks this question, even though they profess to be a Christian, they don’t know God almighty and has minimal or no scripture reading experience and little if any proficiency in understanding fundamental biblical truths; and as a result they don’t have a clear understanding of how almighty God rules his universe. We don’t understand God’s ways or his thoughts; trying to understand all things about the ways of God is futile. His plans and reasons are beyond our comprehension (Isa. 55:8). Typically such people take credit for their successes and blame God for all tragedies, failures and disappointments in their lives. The question, where is God when we need him? implies that perhaps God has moved, that he has relocated or transferred to another space; or maybe he could be inattentive, or even incompetent; otherwise, he could have dozed off, is taking a leave to relieve himself or perhaps he is distracted by texting or something. Whatever it is, the person asking this question is convinced God is not taking care of our safety because we are being overrun with herculean disasters and not a word from him. For some this is a harbinger that the end times are upon us. We are aware that some people are sensitive to natural disasters; but there are many others who are acutely attuned to other storms that occur in life. My husband has cancer, teenage son is arrested, daughter is pregnant, mother slipped and fell; dad needs back surgery, I lost my job and the dog died. So confused about how God works, they lament, where is God when we need him?
On the other hand, Christians who are in a right relationship with God understand that we are to be content with our circumstances even when we don’t understand; because we trust that God has not abandoned us because Jesus said “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Heb. 13:5 Jesus is only hidden from those who don’t know where to seek him. Disciples know we can always find the Lord for he is near in his Word. (Isa. 55:6) The prophet Jeremiah said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
The scripture is replete with God’s promises to protect us. God always protects his own. At Isaiah 25:4, scripture says, God has been a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm. The Psalmist writes, (41:2) in the day of trouble the Lord delivers his servant; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive. And Jesus promised to be with us always; as part of his departing words Jesus said to the disciples, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 If God is with us always, it means He is with us during all the storms of life. We never know how many storms God has prevented from interrupting our lives. The biggest mistake we make is to think we only need God when a difficult thing happens to us. The misinformed persons think we don’t need him otherwise, that everything is alright until some storm comes up. When storms come up the disciples pray and ask God to strengthen and guide them; they don’t stress out and ask, “Where is God?” because we stay connected to him at all times and we know where he is at all times. We need God all the time; he is the vine we are the branches, and apart from him we can do nothing. John 15:5
We are never beyond the need of God. All are born in original sin and are in need of a Savior. Without a Savior we remain separated from God and hell is our destination. No matter how you define it, we are always at risk of disaster as long as we are separated from God. When we are separated from God. Our only protection is to have a right relationship with God and dwell in the peace of God. You can live what you call a “good” life without Christ; but you can’t live a “saved” life without the saving work of Jesus at the Cross of Calvary.
So even when you don’t see him God is overseeing all things. For those who love God and are called according to his purpose all things work together for good. (Rom. 8:28) All things happen under his watchful eye. He sees and permits tragedies to occur and uses them for his greater purpose for the good of his disciples. Even when disciples of Jesus Christ don’t understand they trust God who is our refuge. `Many secular Christians believe their alarm clock woke them up this morning. But it was God who worked through the night to prepare you for another gift of time, which is today; a gift that only he can give. His love and care are new for you every morning.
Christians who are students of the Word of God do not ask this foolish question of “Where is God when we need Him?” Because they know where he is, they abide in him and He in them. He will never abandon them. Whatever tragedy the storms bring it is not the end for Christians. For Christians death is but a doorway to life, eternal life with God. Our focus is not on this world; our focus is on the world to come. God is where he was all the time: sitting at the right hand of God in heaven interceding for all believers. Christians who have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. We set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Col. 3:1-2
Responding to Controversial Issues
To effectively respond to sensitive questions about our Christian faith requires preparation. All our actions must conform to Christian principles and bring a good reflection on the Lord. Below is an in-exhaustive list of things to do in preparation for discussing sensitive matters of our faith. Always talk to God before you talk to man.
- Pray and meditate on the matter before hand. Ask God’s guidance, wisdom, patience and toleration of other views, no matter how repugnant they are.
- Prepare yourself by studying, reading and reviewing your subject and when possible discuss with other Christians to sound them out and get new approaches.
- Remember the admonition of I Peter 3:15, “ …Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
- Make sure you do not enter into any discussion with the intention of winning. You are stating God’s position, not your own. You are just the messenger speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
- Your perspective and worldview in the discussion is always Christian. Do not present or defend moral, social, or political views. One view in these areas is just as good as the other. Only the Christian view represents absolute truth.
- As much as possible, hold your discussion in a controlled environment. Avoid distractions and mobile situations; allow adequate time to make your point, try to be seated, and have the Bible available.
- Be prepared for reasonable disagreement, but no matter what the circumstances- Do Not Argue (Titus 3:9). Make sure that legitimate differences are discussed in an amiable and restrained manner and avoid being dogmatic. Make no remarks that can be misunderstood as criticizing the person. Discuss only the issue at hand. Arguments have never brought anyone to Christ.
- As much as possible set the parameters of the discussion, so you will know what to expect, and stick to that plan and avoid going any further. Don’t allow the discussion to expand to other issues and get out of control. Graciously ending the discussion is preferable to allowing it to go to places that will hurt your witness.
- Ask God to give you the words to say when you need them.
- Leave the discussion with appropriate cordiality and pleasantries, and with a Spirit of thankfulness for the opportunity to present Jesus Christ.
Hidden and Open Sins
Sin is the universal affliction of all humanity. We are all sinners. We inherited sin from our first parents. All humans sin; but we are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. All wrong doing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. (John 5:17) to God it doesn’t matter because every sin is against Him, which he can’t abide. (Psalm 51:4)
Some sins are hidden from others as they occur only in the mind of the sinner where only God can see them and others are not affected. For example the sin of greed is a selfish excessive desire to accumulate wealth, desiring more than one needs and taking all you can get with no regard for your neighbor. (Luke 16) this sin in the heart of a sinner is not likely to become a malignant contagion and affect the person sitting next to them and spread throughout the whole congregation.
Conversely, the sin of illicit habitation, that is un-marrieds openly living together, is an open sin and when it is permitted to continue without disci0line by the church and its leaders, it has a negative effect upon the whole congregation destroying its moral integrity leading to the disobedience of other members of the congregation. Open sin is a cancer that spreads like wild fire and flash floods. (I Cor. 5:1-11) Living together before marriage is a head-on collision with the Christian church’s teaching. Marriage is the foundation of the church and the family. This assault upon marriage must not be condoned by the church. Hidden and open sins both offend God. The sin of greed has the sinner in bondage and is mostly limited to the sinner alone; however, the open fornicator is in bondage to sin but also can cause others to fall into sin. Paul warns the Corinthian church not to approve of behavior that is contrary to the values and teachings of the Bible. Accordingly, do not associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is openly guilty of sexual immorality.
Be careful! Things are not always as the name implies. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover; you can’t tell what an organization does by its name. Names and titles can be deceiving when functions do not follow names and titles.
Words have meaning and are always best understood in proper context. Some words or titles have meanings in their natural or normal context that may be deceptive or misleading. Sometimes we use words to describe things that are not logically true. For example, the round pieces of dough taken from the center of donuts are called donut holes. Well, if we think for a moment, we realize that the round pieces are not holes at all, rather they are the things that made the holes. This misnomer is likely a harmless deception, but none- the-less the name is not accurate.
But on the other hand, there are organizations with names that may deceive the public and may not be harmless. One such organization is named Planned Parenthood, which from the name one would assume its mission is to support and plan parenthood; but through its abortion services, at least, do you really think the organization is actually planning to support parenthood? Any serious look at the organization’s work in abortion, and you can see that the reverse is true. In view of its abortion work the organization is certainly not planning for the increase or preservation of parenthood. The abortion efforts of Planned Parenthood work to keep the stork’s nest depleted not replenished.
Christians must be suspicious of what words and titles say and examine them for what they really mean. We must accept or reject the organization based on whether the organization brings grief or glory to God.
Cultural Clashes [This post challenges positions taken by the culture that directly oppose the teachings of Holy Scripture particularly when they mislead the uninformed]
Every Christian must have personal knowledge of the truth. To be sure you effectively do that, everyone must study and research the Word of God for themselves. The experts and professionals you listen to may get it wrong either knowingly or unknowingly. You have to be careful whose teachings you follow.
Recently a priest, who is the pastor of a church that has a large membership has of avowed homosexuals, made a misleading interpretation of Scripture. Of course every Christian church in obedience to God must welcome all sinners. That means homosexuals are just as welcomed in God’s church as murderers and thieves. But the true doctrine of the Christian church must not change, be minimized, ignored, compromised or have its meaning contorted in any way. The Gospel is only accommodating to the extent God has already established it.
The priest looked into the camera and said,” Being a homosexual is not a sin; it’s only a sin if you act on it.” This is a misleading interpretation of Scripture. This statement was not recanted or rebuffed in any way. It had the ring of truth. This is what Word Wise Ministry is challenging. All the compassion anyone would ever need is already contained in the Gospel and it must not be compromised by any eloquence. (I Cor. 2:2)
Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law; he came to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17) Regarding the relationship between thoughts and actions, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:27-28) There is a difference between thoughts and actions but both can be sinful. Any fair reading of Matthew 5:27-28 and you can see that the sin precedes the action. This text contradicts what the priest said. This text supports what Jesus was talking about when he said uncleanness or defilement doesn’t come from what goes into a man’s mouth but rather what comes out of his heart. The blessed sexual relations remains between one man and one woman in marriage. Lustful desires with anyone outside marriage heterosexual or homosexual is a sin.
False and misleading proclamations such as these are a threat to the uninformed follower of the culture. Those who follow the patterns of the world, find comfort in these misguided, but persuasive, words of the priest. This statement is erroneous but it is culturally relative and all inclusive, which makes it attractive to the culture. Without a voice to contradict this statement, it puts the hearers at risk as they remain separated from the true Word of God. That is why every Christian must study and understand the true Word of God for themselves. Let Scripture be explained by Scripture and not by the culture.