Friday, July 29, 2011

Comfort For Those Hurting In Norway (and everywhere)

Last week while I was on vacation enjoying the sun and fun of Chicago, a tragedy was taking place in Norway. I have been unplugged from most media, so I did not really track what happened until this week when I have been back at the daily grind. My heart breaks for the people who have been affected by the work of this man (who, could we please stop calling a Christian?).

There have been so many that have commented on the events that took place that I am not going to take the time or space here to give my thoughts extensively. However, whenever there is a major world tragedy, I always wonder how people view God. This is going to sound strange, but it is in situations like this that having a rock solid view of God's sovereignty keeps me from going insane. Is God completely in control of all things or not?

Now, don't take this some place I am not going. This happened because of the work of a madman. It is ultimately an act of sin. But it did not take God by surprise. And even in that decision by Breivik, God has a purpose and a plan. We don't have to go any further than to look at the worst massacre to ever take place to see this worked out, the cross of Jesus. The Apostle Peter in speaking to the men of Israel said,
"This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." (Acts 2:23).
In Peter's second sermon, he said,
"And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled." (Acts 3:17-18).
God is in complete control. Here is where we take our confidence. God has a plan. He has a purpose to all things. And He does it all to bring Himself glory!

If God is not in complete control, what is the alternative? Have you ever thought about that? What do you think brings more comfort during the hard, difficult times in life: (1) God is in complete control and has a plan; or (2) sorry that random act of violence happened to you? Which would you choose to hold onto if your child dies? Where would you find your comfort when you lose your job? What will keep you stable when a madman kills near 100 people? I find it in the unshakable nature and character of God! Let me end with a list of Scripture that may be helpful in times like this.

  • "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (Genesis 50:20)
  • "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)
  • "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)
  • "But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases." (Psalm 115:2)
  • "For I know that the Lord is great and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps." (Psalm 135:5-6)
  • "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." (Proverbs 16:33)
  • "And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation." (Acts 17:26)
  • "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

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