On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 17 people were murdered and more than 15 injured in a mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to The Guardian, “Just seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death.” Another shooting happened today in Santa Fe, Tx, leaving 10 dead so far. Each time one of these hideous events happens, a debate breaks out in our country about gun control. Well, I am not joining that discussion. The other debate that happens is, the questions of faith, “Where was God?” To me, that question is backward, and it serves the purpose evil wanted it to serve. Sinful acts like this and others throw into question the very nature of God. This article today is to address the image of God.
When asked why God created man when He knew he would sin, Martin Luther replied, “Let us keep clear of these abstract questions and consider the will of God such as it has been revealed to us.”
Pause for a minute and ask yourself what kind of God do you require? Be honest. Some want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven: a senile benevolent being who allows us to live our life on our terms with little interference from Him. We have limited God and created a crisis of faith by painting faith into a corner we cannot extricate. However, when a crisis comes, we want a Johnny on the spot God to come quickly to our rescue. Wouldn’t it be great if God were to say, “I liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all. Instead…”
What Do We Know about God?
Isaiah 6:3 “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
In the Hebrew language when a word appears more than once it is for comparison. For the word “Holy” to appear three times in a row says that there is no comparison in all the world to the holiness of God. He stands alone. There is no sin or evil in His being.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved.”
When evil strikes the first thing it does is attack at the heart of the character of God’s mercy. Paul reminds us that God is rich in mercy. As one writer puts it, ““Mercy takes away misery; love confers salvation” [Bengel]. God’s love is the motivating factor in His mercy, and notice this love comes in the midst of our brokenness. While we were still sinners, He (God) loved us.
1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.”
John’s encouragement is for Christians to love Christians, but that is not to exclude non-Christians. Don’t lose sight of the fact that the basis of our love is God and His love. In fact, it is because love is from God. True love has its origin in God and flows from or out of (ek) God and has God as its spring or source.
Jeremiah 10:12 “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.”
God is Almighty. He is not powerless. The Evil One attempts in the middle of tragedy to paint God as a helpless old man sitting in His rocking chair watching all the events unfold around Him powerless to intervene. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every time evil strikes you hear how it could have been worse and we chalk this protection up to luck instead of God. When catastrophe comes notice that there are always heroes.
It reminds me of something my wife shared with me about Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame). “In the wake of the horrific attacks in Manchester, England, many people shared a famous quote by everyone’s favorite neighbor.
His mother always said, when there was a catastrophe, ‘always look for the helpers.’ No matter how bad things are, there are always people helping.’”
In nearly every story when bad things happen some brave men and women rise up and restore our hope in humanity. Those heroes often point us back to their faith in God. In this last tragedy, the stories of faith have been striking. Young survivors talking about how their faith in God sustains them. How their faith comforts them because they know their fallen classmates are in a better place. It is faith that gives the Christian hope in the light of darkness. Confidence in God in the midst of uncertain times. We cling to this hope in dark times like this, when there is so much pain and brokenness all around. It doesn’t make sense to an unbeliever, but it gives strength to the Christian.
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Finally, God is consistent and constant. His character does not change; His love endures forever. We can find comfort is a changeless, loving, almighty and merciful God.
 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 345). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Author of "Thank You For Your Service, Sheep!"
"For God can speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds."
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