2002-03-11 - Reflection
Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?
You will hear a lot today about the World Trade Center if you turn on your idiot box. Today marks the half year anniversary of the attacks in NYC, Washington, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. It is fitting that we remember what took place on that day. This is one of those events that people are likely to talk about longer than the span of our lives. But among all the media hype and special ceremonies it is also fitting that we remember that God is sovereign and that He is a God of love.
It might seem that these two aspects of God's character are in conflict with each other when we think about the destruction of September 11. How can God be a loving God and yet in His sovereignty allow almost 3,000 lives to end so dreadfully? I admit that I probably can't do justice to such a question. The concept that God is sovereign means that God is the supreme ruler. It means that He is in control. He not only created the world and all that exists, but He is still active in it and oversees all that happens in it. A great passage on the sovereignty of God is Ephesians chapter 1.
"Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightning's for the rain; Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries," Psalm 135:6,7. That is another passage on the sovereignty of God and if you need a few more: Amos 3:6, 4:13, Proverbs 8:15 & 16, 16:33, 20:24, Lamentations chapters 2 and 3, 2 Kings 19:27, 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 are just a few to get you started. In fact the verse we started with, Amos 3:6, is almost prophetic. You can't deny the sovereignty of God without taking a razor blade to most of your Bible. In fact if you deny God's sovereignty you can start not only by cutting out the above verses, but also the entire book of Revelation, which simply summed up says, "God wins."
The love of God is maybe not how we often think about it. When we think of the love of God we are often prone to think that God's love centers in us and in sending Christ and all His benefits to us. This is a true aspect of God's love. However, to understand this only is not to fully grasp God's love. God's love is centered in Himself. We are such egomaniacs that we tend center love in ourselves, but God is the only one who can do this. God's love seeks the highest good in displaying His own will in the world. In His love He wanted us to be His children so He sent Christ to make atonement for our transgressions that we might have forgiveness from sin, and putting on the righteousness of Christ, be seen as holy before Him. I know that seems complicated, but without holiness no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14. Thus it is a crucial aspect of our faith.
Love defines God. As 1 John 4:8 tells us, "God is love." I'm not saying it easy to look around the world and see war, starvation, illness, pain, suffering, horrible acts by fellow humans, and conclude that a loving God is Lord of all. If you don't struggle with the question, "why?", you should. The best I can do with such thoughts is to remind myself of how undeserving I am of God's love. My sin and unrighteousness deserve God's wrath and judgment. It is amazing that things go as well as they do for any of us. It should come as no surprise when tragic things happen. Our sin has brought such things upon us. It does not mean that God is not loving or that He is not in control. It means that He has allowed some of the ugly consequences of sin to show their true nature. Rather than drive us away from God, such things should drive us more and more to His grace and mercy.
"They lose nothing who gain Christ. Since He looked upon me my heart is not my own, He hath run away to heaven with it." -- Samuel Rutherford
Soli Deo Gloria,