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Is it possible to feel safe in an unsafe world?

Years ago, political activist Ralph Nader wrote a bestseller about the auto industry called Unsafe At Any Speed.  The book put Nader on the map and was the subject of controversy for years.

Most of us care about safety.  We want our family to enjoy life but be safe in the process.  Yet we live in what the Scripture calls a “fallen world.” 

Sin affects everything in God’s beautiful creation.  Criminal behavior, disease, conflict and wars, not to mention bad weather, all confront us.

So how do we stay safe in an unsafe world?

In Psalm 142, King David is hiding from his enemies in a cave.  He says, “I cry aloud.”  “I pour out my complaint.”  “No one is concerned for me.”  “I am in desperate need.”

Then he refocuses on what he knows to be true: “O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 

When the seas of life seem ready to overwhelm us, the surest way to steady the ship is to trust in our heavenly Father.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Is it possible to know “Why” God allows certain developments in the world?

Human beings are inquisitive people.  We want to know why things happen, what they mean, what might happen next.  It’s human nature.  

And to some extent we can discover answers to our questions because God made us in his image, with the ability to reason and learn.  We can think, but we are not omniscient.

When bad or destructive things happen, like tornadoes or weather events the insurance industry calls “Acts of God,” we want to know why.  When tragedy occurs, like an accidental death, we want to know why.  When serious illness strikes, we want to know why.

Sometimes we might be able to discern why, but usually this is long into the future when we benefit from hindsight.  But often, we will not know.

Scripture reminds us,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When we do not know, yet we know God’s character and promises, so we put our trust in him.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

In the country, the virtues of a pastoral life are evident. It reminds me what matters in life: Faith, Family, Friends.

Sure, Food, Fortune, Fun are OK too, as long as these things don’t misdirect our lives.

Solomon said,

“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

In this 2:22 min video I reflect upon our family verse, Psalm 126:3, "The LORD has done great things for us; whereof, we are glad." We chose this verse in January 1976 when we had our first of what was later four babies. This little girl was our Bicentennial Baby, and we were overjoyed. Indeed, the Lord had done great things for us and we were glad.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemonium, let's consider some good things, what the Lord has done for us.

By virtue of my birth, I am a citizen of the USA and with it am beneficiary to political freedom and civil liberties someone else sacrificed to give to me. I did nothing to earn them.

By virtue of my rebirth, I am a citizen of heaven and with this forgiveness of sin by grace through faith in Jesus Christ I am beneficiary to spiritual freedom that Jesus sacrificed to give to me. I did nothing to earn this.

Indeed, the Lord has done great things for me; whereof, I am glad.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

 


This 1:37 min video was produced atop Mt Nebo in Jordan, the place where Moses looked into the Promise Land.



© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

*This video may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

October 1, 2017, presumably-lone-gunman Stephan Paddock sprayed rifle fire, thousands of rounds in about 10 minutes, from his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay Resort corner room into an unsuspecting crowd of thousands, enjoying the weather and a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Latest count, he killed 58 people and injured close to 500.

News anchors are understandably distraught, asking, Why? How could a person do this? One even said, "But he was a multi-millionaire," incredulous someone with money could slaughter others. But money, education, talent, success, beauty, age do not produce moral uprightness.

Media pundits ask, Why? The answer is not easy even if it seems too simplistic.  Sin is why, a wicked and warped heart, what Calvin called "total depravity," the human condition.  Whatever kind of life Stephan Paddock had lived, he had given his heart over to sin.  And sin leads to destruction "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23a).

This may sound like religious moralism. But it’s more than that. It’s biblical Christianity, it is an understanding of the Sovereign God, and it is meaningful theology.

So, some say, OK, this is avoidable tragedy. Why did God allow it? This is where theodicy comes into the picture.

Tragedy is a conversational word that means disaster, sadness, or unexpected developments that victimize human happiness, wellbeing, and even lives.  

Theodicy is a less often used word that means a vindication of divine justice in allowing evil, suffering, or tragedies to exist. 

Tragedies we’ve seen, perhaps experienced, and all-too-painfully understand. Theodicy, the idea that God has a reason for tragedies, the idea that God allows or, even more discomforting, directs tragedies is not so easy to understand.

Yet if we believe in the God of the Bible we must acknowledge his sovereignty, omniscience, and omnipotence. He is in control. He knows all things. Nothing is a surprise or an accident to him. He is all-powerful, so nothing happens outside of his will or influence. Not 9/11, not this latest senseless mass brutality against innocent concertgoers.  

The idea that God could have stopped the carnage seems to beg the question of God’s purported love and compassion for people. In the after-shock of irrational violence and unnecessary death, the thought that God could have prevented the tragedy tests our faith.  

So some question God’s existence, some his goodness. Some, like Job’s wife, simply want to curse God and die. 

Yet in the Book of Job, the oldest scriptural writings, God does not answer all of Job’s questions. God reminds Job and us that he, God, is great. That he is good.  That he is just.  That he is love.  God is big—bigger than our circumstances, bigger than suicide bombers, terrorists, or lone-wolf killers.

Theodicy, in the end, requires faith—faith in a God whose goal is to reconcile us with him, even through tragedies, even in the face of man’s inhumanity to man. This, in turn, requires a right understanding of theology. To interpret properly the world and its volatile events we must know who God is, what comprises his character, and what he wills for the world in which we live. 

Tragedy is abrupt and often life altering. Theodicy can meet our rational need to know why and our emotional need for comfort.  Theology provides us with understanding of a God who is not mean, vindictive, arbitrary, or clueless but a God who is love, righteous, and peace.

I cannot answer the question, “Why?” other than to point to sin and its destructive consequences. But I believe God is in charge, he knows, and he will hold accountable not only Stephan Paddock but all others in the world who perpetrate evil upon society.

I also know that sin and death, i.e. hopelessness, are not the end. The rest of Romans 6:23 says, "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  God is at work in the world. He is at work in the midst and the aftermath of barbarism.  In the days ahead, we may hear some stories of spiritual impact, but then again we may not. Either way, we know God’s providence is still present, as is his peace.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2017    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.