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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
              Monday, September 24 2001 

Where is God? - 3

Though I've enjoyed the theological exercise of writing the previous two entries under this subject head, it occurs to me that the God-fearing spouses who kissed their better halves goodbye and sent them off to work in the World Trade Center, or one of the ill-fated flights, never to see their loved one again, may still understandably be asking, "where was God...what was the value of my beloved's faith and loyalty to the Savior if He couldn't or wouldn't save him or her?"

The feeble "explanations" given here are not intended to satisfy that pit-of-the-stomach ache, but rather to argue that despite what evil befalls you in life, God is not the author of it and turning away from Him in bitterness only makes things worse, not better. There are perhaps three examples of people who never died in Scripture; instead, they were taken directly to heaven. Even God's Son was not spared the valley of death, nor was His mother. Nor was David the man after God's own heart, or Joseph, or Moses, Abraham, or the beloved disciple, John (though he did outlive all his fellows among the Twelve). Though all things work to the best to those who love God, it's often more apparent to Him what the best is and how it's being worked than it is to those in the center of a catastrophe or those he or she leaves behind.

I turn again to Frederica Mathewes-Green's statement: "A world of free creatures requires the possibility that they will freely choose evil. Since the flood of Noah, God has declined to fix things by wiping out all the troublemakers. The only solution that remains is for each of us to realize that we are ourselves junior troublemakers to one extent or another, and do our part to clean up our own corners." The point is that if the evil persons want to kill innocent victims, though God may order the circumstances of some to prevent those individuals being victims, that's not His general way of acting.

I've just finished reading a book about the thousands of martyrs who died under Roman emperor Diocletian (third/fourth centuries). Some of the saints who were put to death defied death repeatedly. Some rose from apparent death. Some emerged unscathed from intensely hot furances. Others talked to and soothed "killer lions" and took lethal blows but walked away. But if the emperor wanted them dead, eventually he won...often by beheading those who miraculously escaped the earlier attempts to liquidate them. But when they did die, others invariably "volunteered" for the Christian army, to replace the martyred.

It's not "just" or "fair" that children, especially ones who say their prayers and try to be good all the time, die of cancer or being run over by cars...but it happens. But God is still good and still in control. Prayer isn't not always answered the way we hope, nor is it answered as quickly as we expect, but it is still heard and it can change things at the highest levels. (For more on this, don't miss today's Inspiration corner.)

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Husbands, wives

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.

—George Burns

Sent by Mike Harrison

The 26

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan....

While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord. I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.

Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards."

At this, I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, "No Sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone. At this point in the sermon (that I was delivering in Michigan), one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted me and asked if I could tell him the exact day this happened. I told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told us this story:

On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?

The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. I wasn't concerned with who they were; I was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were 26.

This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it. Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell. If we all take this to heart, we can turn this world toward God once again. As the above true story clearly illustrates, with God all things are possible and, more importantly, how God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful.

—Robert Borror

Sent by Bill Dalrymple

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