This post is strictly about our sermon at church on Sunday (3/20). It affected me so deeply, I wanted to share what was preached, and open it up for discussion. Let me say that this isn't intended to become a theological debate between believers and non-believers. I would, however, appreciate a thoughtful and helpful discussion regarding the huge topic of Faith.....disclaimer over.... ;)
The sermon was based on the book of Joshua, Chapter 2, Verses 1-11. Anyone with a Bible handy, that's in the Old Testament, between Deuteronomy and Judges (ugh, Judges....). This portion of scripture introduces us to a most unlikely "Faith Giant" (discussed again in Hebrews 11 and in the genealogy discussed in Matthew)- Rahab the prostitute. Yep. There she is. An unlikely woman of Faith living among heathens. I won't get in to the whole story because it's best if you read it, but we focused in on Joshua 2:11: Rahab states (and please read the whole story for context) "When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." There, just like that, fact. The spies from Joshua's camp came and Rahab hid them, protecting them from certain death if they were found within the walls of Jericho.
Without "knowing for certain." Rahab lied and hid spies- she "knew" within her soul, that their God was GOD.
This lengthy background led to our "modern" discussion of Faith in general. And, in light of recent natural and man-made disasters and protests, and uprisings of the last several months, this is really important. I took notes during the sermon so I'll just write down things that were said, that I wrote down, and you can think about them in your own way.
*People choose to blame God when it suits them. How can you blame bad things on God if you don't believe in Him? If there is no God in your life, then you don't know what good/bad are.
*The presence of Evil doesn't NEGATE Good, it is a departure from Good. It PROVES that Goodness exists. If Goodness remains, so does God, and he is still in control. (Yea, Ill get to that in control of the bad stuff in a minute...)
*We (humanity) invited Evil in to the world. WE rejected God. He STILL came in Jesus because he LOVES us. We, again, rejected Him, killing Jesus. He came that he might know human suffering and pain. He knows pain, He gets it, he understands Evil and deals with it every second of every day. He doesn't see highlights of the news- he sees the billions of hurtful things that happen around the world EVERY DAY.
*Suffering is temporary. Goodness exists and always will prevail. It just makes sense to TRUST God because he is in control.
If He is in control- what of suffering? Let's take the almost obvious points first. There is man made suffering. We were given Free Will. We were given the opportunity, the invitation, to listen to God...we are also able to hear Satan as he pushes our buttons and whispers bullying words in to our ears. We make decisions. Satan is not omniscient- he can't pull the trigger, he can only tell us where the gun is.....
Now...if God is in control- what of the "senseless" suffering....Natural Disasters, cancer, illness in children, hunger, disease, etc?
....Folks, there is no answer. It stinks, and it's really hard for me to understand and accept. But he orchestrates it all....There is just no answer on this Earth. Our human brains couldn't process it if there was. The answer, and all other answers, WILL be revealed in grandeur on the Last Day....And, while I don't have all the answers, I know The One who does. I choose to have faith (belief without sight) that all things will work out for good- even if they don't seem good.
I'll take a bad day with Jesus over an eternity without Him.......He has shown his hand at work over and over and over in my life, in both Good and Bad...
People sometimes marvel at my apparent mental stability in having 3 toddlers. I think they think I'm kidding when I say I pray constantly. It's not even a joke..I am praying constantly, giving Thanks where Thanks is due and trying to learn and grow in the word so I can continue to be an example of what his Love can do for us. I'm not just a "mellow" person- anyone who's known me for long enough knows that. And the addition of children doesn't typically calm people down- but the addition of Jesus does...