Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why doesn't He do something?

If you've seen the impossible angles of starving children on filthy streets you will understand what I mean.  Or perhaps seen an elderly person lying prostrate on the path too weak or too hopeless to bother with the flies swarming their skin.  Or maybe you've looked into the empty eyes of a refugee who has lost all except for the air that they breathe, heard the desperate cries a victim of abuse or exploitation, held someone tight who inexplicibly lost their child, brought meals to a soul not far from Heaven--but far enough to suffer. Things like these can make you question the goodness of God and wonder what in the world He could possibility be thinking?

If He's all-powerful then why doesn't He DO something?  If He's all-knowing then how did this happen?  If He's all-loving enough to know when even a sparrow falls then why does He let things like this occur?  If we're honest we've all had thoughts like these. I've had this sort of conversation with him too many times to count and it's something that at times has consumed my thoughts.

And yet, as I told someone just the other day, it's in the asking of these questions that I've become even more sure of His perfect goodness.  He's all goodness, all the time.

When we struggle with these questions what we're really wanting is justice. Justice to come and wipe away every form of neglect, abuse, inhumanity, unfairness, pain and strife. We want God to come and make all that is broken right again. With that in mind, this passage jumped off the page for me recently.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! 
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpant bit him,
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20)

The  'day of the Lord' is "the time when God will intervene decisively for judgment and/or salvation (Bakers Evangelical Dictionary)." Basically the day when God will judge mankind. The day when all will be made right again, but the flip side is that judgement will also occur.  Judgement dark and terrifying for those that receive it.  And without the grace of God that means you and me. The only difference being that perhaps we've acknowledged the mercy of a God who gave Himself in our place.  But what about those that haven't?  For them it will be a dark day indeed and God's desire is that no one would be left for Him to judge.

"The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent."
2 Peter 3:9

It's His mercy, not His lack of concern for those that suffer, that delays His returning and making all things new.  And those who also trust in Him have a few things to learn as well. The Amos passage goes on to say:

"I hate, I despise your feasts, 
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen."
(vs. 21-23)

God hates religiosity. He hates the attitude that we have it all together, the satisfaction that we are ready for His return---because others are not. And with little of our time and energy being put into action other than to make our 'worship' bigger and better, offering 'sacrifices' that He doesn't even want. Fat Christians growing fatter by the day.

THIS is what He wants:
"But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Photos by Anita VanderMespel
Real worship isn't ceremony and is certainly not just letting the days pass by, it challenges and changes the heart. A call to act justly and fairly between mankind so that His justice and rightousness invades the Earth like a flow of cleansing water, like a mightly tsunami that can't be deterred. HIS justice, not ours. HIS flow of water, not our traditions motivated by an expedient, tidy end. And with HIS expression of holy, perfect love. Not with an attitude of superiority, because Christians clearly AREN'T superior. We simply humbly and without deserving serve a superior God. A God of justice who compassionatly delays His hand because He sees what we cannot; lives that will be redeemed by His blood on the day of the Lord. Until then our focus must be to show the world a God who loves, a God who cares, and a God who infinitely put us before Himself. 

My life is Yours 
My hope is in You only 
And my heart You hold
Cause You made this sinner holy 
Holy holy 

Your glory is so beautiful 
I fall onto my knees in awe
And the heartbeat of my life 
Is to worship in Your light 
Cause Your glory is so beautiful 
Your glory is so beautiful 

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again? 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus 

Oh! Precious is the flow 
That makes me white as snow 
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus 

Glory, glory, hallelujah Jesus You are good!

*Your GloryNothing But the Blood as performed by All the Sons and Daughters*

This is what our world needs to hear.  He is good.  He is the only path to healing, peace and justice.   Let it flow like an ever-flowing stream! And let this be what consumes US.

*Listen to the song HERE