Thursday, May 30, 2013

God Creates Evil?

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

The skeptic relishes the opportunity to point his finger to the heavens and accuse the 'sky fairy' for His lack of intervention when suffering comes down, when evil evidences itself.

That same unbeliever has no clue as to the ways of the Almighty. God says, my ways are not your ways. As the heavens are far above the earth, so are my ways above yours and my thoughts above your thoughts.

Mysterious are the ways of God, His wondrous works to perform.

With our limited scope, we cannot see all the good that God is up to when tragedy strikes. When cancer invades the body of a dear old saint, when Downs Syndrome enters the home of a humble family by way of a child, or when a tornado rips through an unassuming midwestern town, God is at work and we must search for the blessings which come out of the situation.

In this verse, we find the word "evil" of which the Lord clais authorship. "Rah" - adversity, calamity, displeasure, distress.

Please note that:

He provides the stumbling blocks that He allows us to make in to stepping stones.
He places the clouds in the sky from which we see the silver linings.
He brings us low so we can realize our inability, thus, He can lift us up.
He brings on the enemy so that we may overcome and rejoice in His strength.
He offers sorrow that our joy may abound.
He takes away that which is precious to us so we can know the freedom of being unchained from this world.

Perhaps the following missive from a pastor aiding in the tornado cleanup in Moore, Oklahoma will give some perspective.

I am of the opinion that every young person should experience a few things early on in life. Along with a trip to a jail or prison, a look inside a salvage-yard sports car where blood and glass cover the seats after a teen has lost control from a night of drinking, I would add a walk through a neighborhood where a tornado has had her way. It brings it's own kind of perspective.
The scene was typical for me of this level storm. The strong winds blowing sand, insulation, dirt particles make the experience this time, a little tougher than normal. Good eye protection and a mask are essential items in the Oklahoma winds. The smell of mold, wet fir lumber, exposed dust, natural gas and death-yes all in a breath, make an impression.

The faces of those reeling from the magnitude of it all was all the way from desperation to resolve. Many wanted to and would talk openly over a bottle of cool water and a good pack of snacks. Stacks of hot water on a parking do little good. The area has plenty for now. A semi full of ice chests or coolers would do the trick. Water they do not need more of but fix-a-flat and canned proteins like tuna and peanut butter they can use.
Some folks have a story rehearsed and they really need to tell it. It is often just a nervous chatter and some have little time for more people intruding into their lives. They retreat into their garage and hide in the shadows. All that I spoke to were glad for the offer of prayer on their behalf. Genuine concern, a listening ear and appropriate questions most always seem to engender a sincere response. The spiritual work of walking lay people- lay chaplains if you will, can do the best work in my opinion. Spiritual work. Being out there with the people of the city, feeling it with them brings you to authentic ministry. Most victims will give a curt or all too honest answer to your questions at first, but the deep feelings can come when you ask, "Now, how are you really doing and how may we best pray for you?" Loving people just like Jesus loved children and all people.
It was amazing to see the home place where a 92 year old man sat in a wheel chair in the middle of his bathroom and road out the storm. The frame house was a pile but by God's grace he lived. It will be hard to forget the piece of steel girder that had been carried a half of mile or more from the IMAX Theatre across the interstate and laying in the street of a block of homes. It will be hard to forget those coming to the donations tables with sores from meth use on their faces and arms or those eyeing the piles of rubble looking for something to make a dime with.
It was a pleasure to serve beside Samaritan Purse, Convoy of Hope, Feed the Children, the Baptist Disaster Relief teams, Red Cross, Salvation Army, SERVEMOORE, Colleges and the myriad of good churches from Texas and beyond all in their synchronized colored tee-shirts. Companies who have paid their people and sent them to help for a day or two. My heart was full when I watched contractors who brought their own backhoes or front end loaders at their own expense, not for profit- just to give back. I remember one who pulled up and had 20 plus nails in one tire. Smile still on his face and undeterred. What joy to witness Mom and Pop Barbeque type restaurant serve food off the back of their truck-hot and good-offering blessings on the workers right beside the Red Cross and Salvation Army. What a joy to watch busloads of volunteers from Albuquerque to Wisconsin and the NYFD all together, lending a hand. It was especially good to see parents bringing their older children to a field with minimal danger and together they would bend over and pick a field clean. Everyone should experience it. It will change you like a good third world country mission trip. It brings perspective-personally, materially, and most of all spiritually. A cup/bottle of cool water and heart of compassion from a good believer wins the day for me. Let me encourage you to get out of that office or routine and make a trip. You need this kind of perspective.
Doug Lehman
Bentonville, AR.

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