But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well-fed. They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people… Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?... When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God's sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny. – Psalm 73:2-5, 13, 16-17 HCSB
Why? Why do good men die young? Why do parents have to bury their children? Why do the wicked flourish while the righteous languish? Why does one live a life of self-gratification and escape unscathed, while another dedicates her life to the service of the neediest and dies infected with a terrible disease? Why do we struggle, moving from pain to pain with just enough joy from time to time to make the pain that much more poignant? Is this any way to run a universe?
I have asked these questions a hundred times as I have stood by death beds and grave sides. I have looked into the eyes of the dying, the sick and the suffering and have been shaken to the depths of my soul.
I have witnessed cruelty on a scale that is unimaginable to most Americans. Christians around the world suffer agonizing persecution for no more reason than their desire to follow Jesus. And the God of love, mercy and grace they worship and serve keeps standing by watching as His people die.
My faith has at times wavered and I confess that I have sometimes even doubted God’s sanity. Like David, “When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless…until.” Until I entered God’s sanctuary, took a breath and got a brief glimpse of what it’s all about.
You see, the world’s false prophets, from the least to the greatest, in trying to profit off of the backs of their flocks, have dealt falsely with us. They have treated the people’s brokenness superficially, claiming “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”
Because the truth of the matter is that we are at war. It is a great and terrible war that has gone on for millennia and the number of casualties lies in the billions. It is truly the war to end all wars and as in every war, it is the innocent who suffer the most.
Thousands of years ago Humanity, out of a misbegotten pride and clueless naiveté, betrayed God and chose to serve the rebel side. But God demonstrated His true love for us in that while we were still sinners – rebels – God-haters, Christ died for us.
The only way to make sense of it all is to acknowledge this war and bravely choose the side of justice regardless of the consequences. Then we must start pushing evil back, making every death count.
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