The whole world in His hands!

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The earthquake in Japan last week has had heartbreaking consequences.  The footage of massive ships being tossed about like Kinder egg toys had now been followed by the images of utter destruction.  Cities wiped out, homes reduces to a few planks of wood, ten of thousands of people are still missing and as I write this the latest news on www.bbc.co.uk reports that ‘Radiation from Japan’s quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has reached harmful levels.’ 

Where is God in all this?

Egypt.  Bahrain.  Libya.  Violence.  Oppression.  Unrest.  Revolution.  These words have been bouncing round our media in the last month or so.  These glimpses into nations that are largely shut off from the rest of the world have revealed years of hardship and dictatorship that seem to have gone largely unnoticed in the western world.

Where is God in all this?

The Comic Relief telecast this weekend will show celebrities ‘Doing something funny for money,’ but will also include stories from around the UK and Africa that are chilling, and yet are usually the bits of the TV show that we block out, or use as a good time to go to the loo or make a cup of tea.

Where is God in all this?

The largest online peadophile ring ever was smashed this week and 121 people from the UK were arrested.  62 young people were saved from abuse, but an unknown number will never be identified or protected.

Where is God in all this?

This is one of the hardest, and most common questions that people ask.  Where was God when the planes hit the twin towers?  Where was God when that little girl was being abused?  How could God let my parents get divorced?  Why does God allow famines to take places?

In one way the answer to ‘Where is God in this?’ is easy.   In the middle of all these horrendous, horrifying events,  God is right there in the midst of it all weeping.  Before we go any further, please never forget, that these events break God’s heart and He weeps with us.

No one fully understands the answers to these questions.  While theologians have come up with some explanations, you do need to take a leap of faith to trust that God ‘works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.’ ( Ephesians 1:11)  This is not in any way easy, which is why stories of Christians whose faith emerges from tragedy even stronger are so remarkable.

There is one point that explains this all though…. God never intended any pain of suffering to enter the world, that only happened when ‘Sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.’  (Romans 5:12)

Ok so we believe that God literally formed the mountains, why then did he allow the Japanese earthquake to happen?  Psalm 135:6 tell us: ‘The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.’  If this is true, why did God allow the disaster in Japan or the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 to happen?

One way of explaining this is, if God tweaked the laws of physics that rule the earth to stop this earthquake, then He would have to do it for every disaster that happens, which would be nearly every minute of everyday.  If we believe that  God is ‘mighty and awesome’ (Deuteronomy 10:17) then we believe that He is able to do this, BUT, if the laws of physics were being tweaked every minute of everyday, they wouldn’t be laws and we would literally never know every time we took a step if we were going to walk along the ground or start to float off into the air.

What about the child abusers?  What about Hitler?  What about the dictators we see on the news today that do not hesitate to kill?  Ok so it would create chaos if God played too much with the laws of nature, but what about people?  Could God not just change their minds before they do their evil acts as we are told that he can change us inside and out?

Yes He could, but if He did that, humans would effectively be reduced to puppets that He controls and this is not the way we were designed.  God created us in His image and blessed us with free choice.

Think of it this way…. if the boy you love chooses to come and sit with you, you will be delighted.  He choose you!  However, if he comes to sit beside you because the teacher made him, sure you might be happy to have him so close, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the ways he feels about you…. it is the same with God.

If God didn’t give us a choice and we just had to be a follower of Christ, it wouldn’t mean much, but if we choose to follow Christ, it will change the world. 

When we were created we had this free choice and we all used it in the right way, but then sin came into the world which means that it confuses our choice and we sometimes make bad choices.

This is a HUGE topic which we can never fully address in one blog, so we urge you to go and talk to you GB leaders, your Chaplain, your Minister or Youth Worker.

A song that has been in my mind this week is ‘The Whole World in His Hands’ by Tim Hughes.  (There is a link to a YouTube version of this song below)  This song assures is that the world is in God’s hands, that He is in control.  However while it says, ‘I fear no evil, for You are with me,’  we do not mean that if you are a Christian that you will not face suffering, but it means that God is with you. 

This has been  a long blog, and yet hardly even touches the surface of this topic, but hopefully it will give you a starting point to go and find out more.  We will leave you with a verse of encouragement from Corinthians 10:13 (The Message):

‘All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’

Sarah :)

 

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