Posts Tagged ‘the will of god’

Where is God?

Where is God? Our response to suffering

It seems like this week has brought bad news to a lot of people. A few days ago, more about a well-loved Nashville photographer died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving behind his two young children. Another photographer I follow on facebook, a breast cancer survivor, is in the hospital right now waiting to have a biopsy to confirm what the scans are saying–that her cancer is back. Every day I feel like I see new facebook pages being created for kids in my town who have cancer. Or pages to support the families of those whose children didn’t make it. I get emails daily from activist groups asking me to sign petitions, often to support girls who have been raped and ignored, or young black men who have been murdered and their bodies forgotten.

As people of faith, it can be tempting to try to write off these tragedies with statements like, “God has a plan,” and “They’re in heaven now.” But somehow these sentences can’t meet the tremendous pain that we all feel in the face of tragedy. The only thing that truly brings me comfort in these times is the reality that God mourns with His children and that when we suffer, He suffers as well. He is the God of all compassion, a man of sorrow, familiar with pain (Isaiah 53:3). He promises that He will be victorious in the end, that He will defeat all death and pain and sorrow. And yet He still mourns with us now. Jesus, upon hearing of the death of Lazarus, says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” And yet He still wept at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11). Let us not forget to mourn with our brothers and sisters in times of immense sorrow–we are called to come along side them and weep, for that is what our Father is doing. For even though we know with our being that the Lord is victorious in the end, and we should hold firmly to this, the pain of this moment, of this world, deserves to be recognized. Elie Wiesel says it better than I ever could, so I’ll end with an excerpt from his book Night.

The SS hanged two Jewish men and a youth in front of the whole camp. The

men died quickly, but the death throes of the youth lasted for half an hour.

“Where is God? Where is he?” someone asked behind me. As the youth still

hung in torment in the noose after a long time, I heard the man call again,

“Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within myself answer, “Where is

he? He is here, he is hanging there on the gallows.” -Eli Wiesel, Night

How can we talk about theology & doctrine in a way that doesn’t destroy the church?


When Christians find themselves discussing different theological matters or life’s tragedies and miracles, page which naturally happens quite frequently, ailment a topic that’s bound to come up is the will of God. I feel like we are probably all guilty of talking and arguing about the will of God with a little too much confidence and ease- I know I am.

In the midst of our theorizing about what the living God of the universe desires and wills, find we probably all need to remember what He told Job after Job and his friends spent a good while saying what the will of God was.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
-Job 38:1, 4-7

Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
-Job 42:1-3

In this video, Timothy Keller was asked, “What are some current problems in the Western Church?”

One of the top three problems, in Tim Keller’s opinion, is doctrine.

Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me one bit. Doctrine and theology have a way of dividing people and typically ends up with people arguing and missing the entire point of the Gospel. So does that mean that we shouldn’t discuss scripture, shouldn’t talk about theology, shouldn’t touch on doctrine? Should the hermeneutical movement be stopped? In the book Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey addresses this issue, and this is what she says:

“Isn’t it prideful to decide what Paul, for instance, really meant? Not at all! I believe this movement is scripturally supported and that it continues the movement of the Holy Spirit as given to the Church in Acts. But it also requires a healthy dose of humility and submission to Christ. Because now, as we read the Bible, it places a demand of action and thoughtfulness on us as we continue to carry the story of God forward into the twenty-first century. American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards aptly says, “The task of every generation is to discover in which direction the Sovereign Redeemer is moving, then move in that direction.” This requires us to prayerfully ask ourselves, Where is God moving? And how can I live out God’s shalom? – pg. 172, Jesus Feminist

All that to say, on this blog I’ll be writing quite a bit about theology, including things pertaining to the will of God, and I want to affirm the fact that I am talking about things that are far too wonderful for me to know. But I love talking about my Lord and theology, and I do think that these topics are important. So I pray that when I approach difficult topics on this blog, I will do so with a heart that honors God in a way that helps us all carry the story of God forward.