Waiting for God Is the Best Part about Faith

By Greg Forde (guest blogger)

I never thought that I would find myself in agreement with anything the Rev. Al Sharpton had to say; and politically, I’m pretty sure I still don’t. But in a recent appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the political commentator returned to his first calling.

While discussing the reactions to the recent shootings in Newtown, as well as those in New York and Pennsylvania, the conversation turned to God’s role in the shootings and His attendant grace and comfort towards the survivors. Their conversation basically centered on the age old question, often asked by both faithful and unfaithful liberals,—“How does a loving God allow bad things to happen, and how do Christians maintain their faith without a clear answer to that question?”

Sharpton’s response was immediate and direct. Sharpton reminded the panel that God is everywhere, in the good and in the bad, and faith is especially for those times when we do not have the answers.

In the fallen world we live in, God’s presence in evil is a hard concept to grab a hold of. For unbelievers, and I fear, even for believers, we don’t like operating without answers. Even worse, we don’t like waiting for answers. Actually, most of us don’t like waiting for anything. For instance, in a restaurant we want our service faster. When we are driving, we want the car in front of us to go faster. We even want our worship service to go faster. We just don’t like waiting for anybody, or for anything including God. This attitude is sad because waiting for God is the best part about faith.

Sharpton is right. When we can’t find an answer, when we can’t understand a circumstance on our terms, that’s when we need to turn to the gospel—to turn our eyes to the cross of Christ and remind ourselves and others that God has a wonderful plan and that He will show it to us on his schedule, not ours. Easy to believe, harder to do, isn’t it?

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”  Psalm 46:10-11

 

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With his wife Pat, Greg Forde resides in Alto, Michigan and serves as an elder at Dutton URC, Caledonia, Michigan.

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Death God's sovereignty Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

God’s Sovereignty Behind the Tragedy in Newtown

By Greg Forde (guest blogger)

Whenever we experience a tragedy, we turn to God for comfort. Aware of His sovereign power, we pray to Him for strength to overcome our struggle. We seek His help to move forward. Yet, some of us question God for allowing a tragedy (like the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut) to happen. We sometimes ask (perhaps not vocally, but silently), “God, why did You allow this murder to happen?” The ultimate answer, of course, is because He is sovereign and does whatever pleases Him. The psalmist says in Psalm 135:5-6: “the LORD is great….Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth.”

To some people this answer is not comforting; and therefore, they look for another answer, ignoring the fact that God is in control of everything. Ironically, they want strength from God but deny that He has the power to control everything. They cannot accept that it was God who ultimately took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

In Genesis 50:19-20, at the culmination of Joseph’s journey from a pit to a palace, he comforts his brothers who sold him for 20 pieces of silver: “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Here Joseph describes how the all-powerful God used the evil work of his brothers for their good and for God’s glory. In God’s wisdom, sovereignty, and providence He utilizes evil to accomplish His holy purpose. We see this truth at Calvary in which God was pleased to use the evil of the cross to conquer the Devil. God used the death of His Son to bring eternal life to those who believe in Him.

So, you may ask, “What is the good that comes from the Newtown shooting?”  We do not know how God’s plan will continue to unfold, but we do know that God, in His awesome power, can use this event to get each of us to turn our eyes to the cross of Christ.

Remember, God wants more faith. He wants not just a lip service in our homes, schools, and government, but a true return to Jesus Christ. We are not afraid to turn to Christ on our terms, but are we willing to turn to Christ on His terms?

 

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With his wife Pat, Greg Forde resides in Alto, Michigan and serves as an elder at Dutton URC, Caledonia, Michigan.

Death God's sovereignty Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting