It is funny, and often frustrating, how events overwhelm.
I have been thinking a lot in the last two weeks about a couple of things that have helped shape younger generations. One is the fact that cynicism has become a substitute for humor. Yeah, it brings forth the laughter, but it dismisses rather than examines – like a fart joke or a cuss word as a punch line, it is cheap humor. But it has shaped a generation and it is now evident in our public discourse. I have also been thinking a lot about how the targeted marketing that the internet makes possible reinforces, may even create, the bubble phenomena that everybody is noting. Media, even in its advertising, used to make us look at things beyond ourselves. Nowadays it is more of a mirror than a window.
But then the Pennsylvania grand jury report dropped and the old traditional evils raised their ugly head. The unique ills of the current generation pale in comparison to the evil that lies in the heart of every person. The problem of evil is as old as the church. Virtually since Christ’s ascension there has been mischief, and far worse, in His name. Nothing short of the Second Coming will eradicate it. We tend to think ourselves above such base evil, but then events remind us that we are not. We want to fight hunger and homelessness, both worthy goals, but then something comes along and points out that they are minor battles in a major war.
Few things, to those that love God, are more of a gut-punch than evil done in God’s name. We look for perspective and understanding, but the pain and heartache just keep coming. We want to act on that pain, we want to heal that wound, and yet it is beyond us. The evil is so big, the wound is so deep that it seems hopeless. Worse we run the risk of acting in a way that compounds the problem. What to do?
There really is only one answer to the question, “What to do?” Turn to God. When the impulse to act out of pain and sorrow threatens, I turn to a single verse of Scripture:
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
It is not mine to act – it is God’s. I must cease and wait. He can bear this shame, or He can eradicate it as He sees fit. It is not mine to do it for Him. It is mine to wait for Him to use me as a part of His efforts as He see fit.
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor 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.
God is at work, even in this most hideous of circumstances. Being merely the creation and not the Creator, I am not capable of knowing how this will work, I simply have to know it does. That simple knowing is faith, and in that faith I find goodness:
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.
God will redeem even this.
This dark Sunday morning it is my prayer that we can all wait on God – His acts and His goodness – for there lies our redemption, even in the face of this evil.