(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter. Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord. Glen)
Part 21 – “Where Was God?”
The question of God’s “Where?” often leads to matters of morality, as opposed to proximity – as in, “Where was God when this particularly difficult or tragic event happened?”
Often, those who raise the question do so with the intent to attack either the existence of God – “How can there be a God if such thing happened?” – or, the character of God – “How can a loving God have allowed such a thing to happen?” Moreover, even devout believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have honest questions about our Lord’s determinations and allowance of evil and tragedy.
The best answer begins with a definite response – “God was there when such things took place.” Indeed, an omnipresent God, as affirmed in Scripture, cannot fail to be everywhere in His creation. Our Lord exists, and He is present in every venue of the universe He made and sustains. This we must declare unequivocally, anticipating the inevitable questions that ensue, again, the moral inquiries. “How could the Lord have been there, in the heart of calamity and witnessing it, and failed to have acted to prevent it?”
At this point, our answer becomes far less definitive, at least at the outset of seeking to respond. Concerning the particular details of pain, loss, suffering and tragedy - whether the result of wickedness, or natural calamity - we rarely, if ever, can say with certainty, “This is why God did not act to prevent the event.” Indeed, I suspect that angels fear to tread where humans too often go in seeking to understand the determinations and allowances of our Lord. “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33). Thus, we must answer the question of why God did not act with a wise and unashamed, “I do not know.”
Upon this basis of honesty and humility regarding the particulars of events, we once again return to a definitive affirmation regarding God and His ways.
“I may not know why the Lord acted as He did in the situation, but this I do know without any shadow of doubt: the Bible declares that “as for God, His way is perfect.” Furthermore, Scripture promises that He is wise enough, powerful enough, present enough, and loving enough to work all things together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose. So, while I cannot provide the specifics of why God allowed things to happen, of this I am sure: He was there, and He acted perfectly in the matter. And of this I am also sure: The real issue is whether you and I are among those who love the Lord, and are the called according to His purpose.”
We lovingly seek to bring the one who questions God into serious consideration of the truth of God, and of His Gospel as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll never be able to answer every question, but we do not need to do so, nor does our hearer require perfect understanding. He or she does require faith, however, either in coming to salvation, or in continuing to love and trust God as a believer. We strongly affirm the perfect character and way of our Lord in the attempt to elicit such confidence, and the Holy Spirit doubtless empowers our testimony as the question “Where was God?” provides opportunity for consideration of the greater inquiry, “Who is God?” And, do we know, love, and seek to trust, obey, and honor Him in all things?
“Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.”