April 5, 2021

The God of All Things

In Amos 3:6, the prophet asked two rhetorical questions:

Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the Lord has done it?
Amos obviously assumed that the answer to both these questions was Yes. But many contemporary Christians would disagree. These days, believers are much more likely to seek God in the good things that happen, while believing that catastrophes, disasters, and the like are outside God's will. Atheists hatefully point to a God who causes horrible things to happen, and people of faith respond, "That's not the God I believe in, either!"
The problem is, we're not God. Though we can look at any event and immediately judge it to be good, bad, or indifferent, we can only see a tiny part of the picture. Something that seems good today might, in the long run, turn out to have set in motion a series of events that caused disaster to one person, or nation, or the whole world. And if this can be said of a positive event, how much more can it be said of something that in the short term seemed to be bad. Negative events do sometimes lead to great good.
And this latter fact lies at the very core of what it means to be a Christian. We cannot at one moment deny God's presence in painful events, and at the next moment affirm the cross as the centerpiece of our faith. For what is the cross, but a symbol of a horrible reality that led to eternal life for all who embrace it? 
Rather than declaring that difficult realities are outside God's will, we should seek signs of God's love in the midst of suffering. And even more importantly, we should wait for the dawn of God's goodness to shine forth from the nighttime of fear or pain.  

Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?
 Luke 24:26
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Help me to believe that all things are from you and that you have a plan for my life, in which each passing incident has a part.
 F.B. Meyer
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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