Roy Exum: Where’s God In This?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Over half of Florida is still trying to catch its breath and now there is another murderer, one named Maria, mauling Puerto Rico this morning on her way to the United States. On August 25 Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. It killed an estimated 50 people, displaced more than a million people and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of more than 300 miles. The bills haven’t been sent out but the governor of Texas says he’s thinking $180 billion (with a ‘b’).

Less than two weeks later Hurricane Irma – believed to be the strongest ever – hit Florida with such a blow they are still counting the deaths, 36 by yesterday with the promise of more. We know half of the homes in Key West are gone, along with “at least a million” roofs off houses and 40 percent of the citrus crop.

So the question being asked all across the nation is, “Where is God in all of this?” In the Bible there was a terrible storm where Jesus was “resting” and his disciples – experienced fishermen – finally asked him point-blank, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (In Mark 4:35-41 we read. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”)

Several days ago there was an opinion piece on Fox.com where author Todd Burpo wondered, “Why doesn't God intervene in disasters?” My reasoning is that God is ever-present and guarantees He will never leave us in the storms we encounter. But what I love are reading the comments from others who have read the article so here’s a mixture of “man-on-the-street” answers:

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“It' not God's job to take care of us, he's given us the tools we need to take care of ourselves and make daily decision on how we will live our lives. God doesn't worship us, we are told to worship Him. If this earth was a paradise we wouldn't hope for something better when our lives are over.”

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“Well, it is very simple.  god just doesn't exist.  Get over it and enjoy your life.”

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“Oh, but He does, and your life, such as it is, would be much more at ease and at peace with yourself, if you would only believe.  So, your life isn't really so simple without Him.........with Him, you can handle whatever is laid at your feet.”

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“Why doesn't Allah stop hurricanes? Or Buddha? They got other things to do. Take care of yourself, be a man.”

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“God has turned His back on America...because America has become godless.  Read Deuteronomy 28...skip the Blessings...go directly to the "Curses."

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“It's easy and even comforting to some people to blame God for causing or not intervening in all the bad things that happen in life to all people. We all bare the guilt of this fallen world we live in. All have sinned and if someone wants to deny it then they only have managed to deceive themselves. God's word tells us that good and bad will happen to all. We educate the young to prepare them for adulthood. We save money for retirement. We make all the previsions we can for an unpromised future life in this world. But few prepare for the eternal, Christians are called all kinds of names and made fun of for trusting in God by unbeliever. We were told this would happen, but if it is foolish to sacrifice or give up the temporary pleasures of sin and not be so wrapped up in the things of this world to gain an eternal home that is promised  where there is no pain, suffering or death, not even a tear. Then you can call me whatever you want. My time here in the physical life will be used to prepare for my eternal one. I encourage all to use your time wisely.”

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“Sorry, but this has nothing to do with God.  Bad weather and conditions happen all over the world.  He is not making it happen. It has nothing to do with that. The right conditions existed for a storm to occur.  Period.  He doesn't choose who to save or who to bestow cancer upon.  It's time that people stopped thinking that and laying the blame for everything bad (and good) at His feet.  He gave us all free will.   The choices we make in this lifetime, coupled by fate, destiny (being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time) are definitely why things happen to us. P.S.  I was a born and raised Roman Catholic and I believe in God, but not necessarily in what the church wants you to believe.  I take a more realistic approach.”

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“The question, of course, remains unanswered and, in fact, skirted around. God sent the storm in the first place which destroyed your home and killed your kids and wife. How much help is He going to really give afterwards?”

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“Instead of the complicated constructions one sometimes hears on this subject, I offer one very simple, but much more probable one. Religion is fiction. Therefore, no imaginary god, or two thousand years dead Jesus cannot influence anything in any way. No more than tooth fairy or Santa Claus can.”

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“Here's another question for all of you to consider while you're pondering ‘Where is God in this?’ It comes from the Bible "Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint, in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord." (Lamentations 3:39 NASB) In other words, the real question is: In view of all our rebellious and sinful ways, why hasn't God wiped us ALL out? Why does he let ANY of us survive these storms? Not – ‘why does he allow us to die’ --but-- why has He mercifully allowed any of us to live???? He DOES intervene in these storms--otherwise, none of us would survive”

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“Why doesn't God intervene in "disasters"?  Heraclitus answered this same question centuries ago. ‘To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right.’ – Heraclitus

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“The answer to this age old question is so simple that most of us miss it, including well intentioned pastors.  In short, we DO NOT DESERVE intervention.  That's it...short and sweet.  Do any of you have the hubris to publicly say "Damn right I deserve intervention"?  If you believe that, better you ask the Devil instead of God. Not a sermon...just the Truth.”

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“God doesn't mess with mother nature. Besides, why does He allow non-believers to live and ask stupid questions on the internet?”

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“Because there is no god as you think. If there was, do you think he would let all the people in this world starving die, not unless he is evil also. So take all that has happen in the last 200 years and think if there was a god almighty would he let all this happen and all these poor little kids die. If your answer is yes (he is) no god of mine.

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“So, I suppose all the volunteer rescue workers weren't God's emissaries, doing his work in full view? God sent in hundreds of workers to wade in, literally, and rescue people and pets from the devastating floods. The Mayor of Houston even asked that the volunteers stop coming, he had too many now.”

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“Maybe God did intervene or maybe it was His plan all along. Irma did less damage to the United States than what the media hyped for week prior to the event.  Doubt yourself, don't doubt God.  His plan, His time, every time.  Believe and have faith.  That's all it takes, my friends.”

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“The most interesting thing about disasters is how quickly they turn Republicans into Socialists.”

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“Why do people assume God is some magical genie that can be summoned in order to escape peril? Anyone who has actually read the Bible should know of all the calamities that occurred were not accounts of how God removed them from them, but rather how God's people endured through them by exhibiting faith in Him.”

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“God will save you just as much as praying to Harry Potter. If it makes you feel better praying to an invisible person, then go for it. But don't expect anything to happen.”

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“The question being asked is so silly, if you believe in God, you would know that God has nothing to do with us right now. We are on our own, what will be will be.”

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“If I could do it over again, definitely would be a priest or minister! Go tell a few hundred people stories for an hour or so only on Sunday, then convince them they should give you 10% of their salary!”

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“’Where is God?’ is a question asked by non-believers and "newborn" Christians.  Scripture is very clear on this issue and one only needs to read and understand.  God never promised there would never be storms.  He told us there would be storms and if we are prepared for the storms in life, through faith, we will weather them just fine.”

* * *

Max Lucado, my favorite Christian author and a glorious pastor in San Antonio, says the real answer is clearly explained in the Bible. He recently wrote …

“Jesus said, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.” (Lk. 21:25, NIV)

“Natural disasters may surprise us, but they do not surprise God. Increasing frequency of natural calamities are like the birth pangs of pregnancy—indications of an impending delivery. Christians do not know when Christ will return, but we believe we will see “…the Son of Man coming in the cloud with great power and glory. When these things (natural disasters) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Lk. 21:27-28, NIV)

“This is the time to “stand up and lift up.” Lift up prayers. Lift up hope. Lift up your hearts. God is above the storm.” Pray, armed with the knowledge that God is in control. Face the uncertain future with conviction. Our good God in heaven overseeing this stormy world. We may not be able to see his purpose or his plan, but the Lord of heaven is on his throne and in firm control of the universe and our lives.

“The storm is coming, but God is with us. Look ahead and chart a path to safety. Look around and see who you can help. And look up to the God who loves you. He can be trusted with your future.  And he can be trusted with your very life.”

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Max Lucado is a San Antonio pastor and best-selling author. His latest book is "Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" (Thomas Nelson, September 2017).

royexum@aol.com



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